Man City, Liverpool face off for second time in a week
We Go Again
Published: Apr 14, 2022 08:08 PM
Bernardo Silva (in blue) of Manchester City competes with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool on April 10, 2022 in Manchester, England. Photo: VCG

Bernardo Silva (in blue) of Manchester City competes with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool on April 10, 2022 in Manchester, England. Photo: VCG

It was billed as a battle between the two best teams in Britain and Manchester City's English Premier League meeting with Liverpool last weekend lived up to the hype. It ended 2-2 at the Etihad Stadium and though both teams could have won it, neither lost ground in what is becoming another epic title race between the two clubs.

"We said before the game that these are the two best sides in the country, possibly Europe, possibly club football," said the former Manchester City (and Manchester United) goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel on the BBC's Radio Five Live. "They have not disappointed us. It was a fantastic game of football with great intensity. With the quality of these players, a fantastic watch."

Schmeichel waxed lyrical on what he had just seen.

"What a treat, what a game of football. Great set-up by both team; entertainment, chances, we've seen everything today," he added. "The best that English football can deliver."

It was a sentiment echoed by his former Manchester United teammate Roy Keane, who was in the Sky Sports studio to cover the match.

"The quality, what impressed me with all these top-quality players was their desire to keep going for their win at the end. No team was going to dominate for long spells as there is so much quality on both sides," Keane said.

"Liverpool showed their character in the second half. But then City had great chances as well. A great reminder to us all of what this game is about."

'A good advert'

Those directly involved were also delighted with the spectacle.

"I think it is a good advert for the Premier League," Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports after the thrilling draw.

"It was a fantastic game and both teams tried to win. Liverpool is a joy to watch, I know the threats they have and how good they are. I think we performed really well and I'm so proud of my team.

"Now both teams know [there are] seven games left, you have to win or it will all be over."

The champions still have to face Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford, Leeds United, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Aston Villa, plus a rearranged fixture with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Liverpool are yet to play Manchester United, Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur, Villa, Southampton and Wolves.

Guardiola's title rival shared his thoughts on the game and the race to become champions.

"It was an exceptional game of football. Two heavyweights, chomping at each other," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told BBC Match of the Day.

"It's crazy the intensity. A completely different level. The concentration levels from both teams.It was a proper football game. If you played for another club, played yesterday, won it, trained today then watching City vs Liverpool. I don't know what I would have done to watch it but to be a part of it... I cannot stop being surprised. I love it."

Neither side can afford to drop any points as they look to add another English title to their trophy haul.

"We just need to keep winning games," said Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson. "We had to do it that year and we have to do it this year. It's obviously out of our hands, if they win all their games then it is their league but if they do drop points we need to be ready to pounce."

Victim of own success

Liverpool are on for a quadruple while the Manchester club have hopes of a treble this season. Klopp has hit out at the fixture schedule once more, with the club a victim of their own success, he said.

His players are focused on the immediate task at hand, Robertson suggested in the run-up to a UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Benfica.

"We can only focus on ourselves," the Scotland international said. "I think we have got a really tough run-in, all games are tough in the Premier League especially when you get to the end bit. But we have some really tough games and we need to try to win them, we need to be at our best, we need to be better than we were [against City] and if we do that then let's see where we end up and hopefully we can win something.

"Time will tell [if we need to win them all]. You never know. We need to win as many games as it takes - it's as simple as that. We wait to see what results happen, we need to keep dealing with each game as it comes."

Those games were Benfica in midweek - where Liverpool had a foot in the semis thanks to a comfortable first-leg win in Lisbon - and then, already, another game against Manchester City - this time at Wembley in the FA Cup semifinal.

"Just keep focusing on the next one," Robertson said. "We are already focused on Benfica now. We have a lead but we need to get through. We need to try to win that and then get into the semifinals. If we do that then we focus on the next one. We are still fighting on all fronts, we still have a lot of games to play and if we win hopefully it ends with silverware."

The managers might want to focus on the game at hand but it's hard not to look ahead.

"I don't know if Jurgen respects me but Jurgen has to know I respect him a lot," Guardiola said. "He has made me a better manager. His team is always there, they are always aggressive. We are not friends, we never see each other, I have his number but I don't call him. I have respect for him, but he knows next Saturday [in the FA Cup semifinal] I am going to try and beat him."

Only one thing is different to last week, one team has to win.