Liverpool biggest threat to City next season — Guardiola
PEP Guardiola expects Liverpool to challenge Manchester City for the title next season. City swept all before them on their way to a record-breaking title win this term, scoring more goals, gaining more wins and earning more points than anyone before them in Premier League history.
Guardiola’s side will finish at least 22 points ahead of Liverpool after today’s final day. However, Jurgen Klopp’s men won three of the four meetings with the champions, beating them twice to knock them out of the Champions League as well as ending their unbeaten run domestically back in January.
The Spaniard has often spoke of his admiration for the way Klopp’s team play and fully expects them to be right in the mix for the biggest prizes again next year alongside a number of other contenders.
“[Liverpool] were a big contender and next season will be, but I will not say just Liverpool,” he said. “The way they play, the quality of their people, not just in front. [Virgil] van Dijk helped a lot to be more consistent in the defensive department, especially in the box.
“The quality in front, the quality in the way they play. Jürgen is a top manager. He’s an excellent manager creating not just offensive style, and always thinking about the spectators, always positive going there and creating good environments in the clubs.
“I admire him because, for example, [Ilkay] Gündogan was with him at Borussia Dortmund and [Robert] Lewandowski was with him, and every player speaks so well about him, as a manager, as a human being. This season, OK we are 25 points in front? It is difficult to say it was difficult but it was, because they beat us and next season it will be too.
“But the same like United will be, the same like Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, with new managers, new training sessions, new ways to play, everybody’s going to move. Next season will be OK, like every season is. People say: ‘No, this season was different.’ No, no. It was tough — it was good because we were so, so good — but of course the opponents will be there again.”
Between them City and Liverpool have scored more goals than anyone else — a staggering 185 — and Guardiola sees a lot of his own side in Klopp’s rampant Reds.
“I think both teams want to attack, Tottenham as well. It doesn’t matter what happens, they want to try, want to attack,” he added. “But I think the way they attack and defend is a little bit different. They play more ‘here’.
“Sometimes we look for more sides, they are more direct: the wingers, Mané, Salah, Firmino, they play more together. They attack more in front. But I think the idea is quite similar in terms of they want to try win the game for themselves and they don’t wait for what will happen.
“They want to try to do their game. I wish them all the best in the [Champions League] final.”
Pep Guardiola admires Jurgen Klopp