Re­mem­ber, re­mem­ber, the 21st of Novem­ber ... if you love Liverpool

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSE­LEKU sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za

Novem­ber 21 2015 will go down as one of the most mem­o­rable days in Liverpool’s his­tory, at least un­der Ger­man man­ager Jürgen Nor­bert Klopp.

This is the day the Reds army in­vaded en­emy ter­ri­tory – the Eti­had Sta­dium – and de­mol­ished Manch­ester City 4-1 in a clin­i­cal dis­play that was rem­i­nis­cent of the trade­mark style of play that Klopp had es­tab­lished at Borus­sia Dort­mund in his mother­land.

This was just a month into his ten­ure at Liverpool.

The re­sult led to the club’s faith­ful singing along to Cana­dian jazz group Full Swing’s 1982 re­lease The Good Times Are Back.

How­ever, the re­sult turned out to be the sin­gle swal­low that did not make the sum­mer, as the club has been blow­ing hot and cold ever since.

In fact, it is a mir­a­cle that they find them­selves in the Cap­i­tal One fi­nal to­day.

They come up against a City whose man­ager, Manuel Luis Pel­le­grini, must be feel­ing like a man on death row.

The Chilean would like to bow out in grand fash­ion af­ter The Cit­i­zens an­nounced that they would be coached by the dec­o­rated Spa­niard Pep Guardi­ola at the end of this sea­son.

Things have not lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tions that were cre­ated in 2013, when Pel­le­grini hit the ground run­ning af­ter join­ing City in June.

He led the club to a Premier League and League Cup (Cap­i­tal One) dou­ble, but that’s when the sil­ver­ware dried up de­spite a se­ri­ous chal­lenge for the ti­tle last sea­son. His con­tract ex­pires on June 30. The sta­tis­tics will show that Liverpool have won 72 of the 153 meet­ings be­tween the clubs since their first clash in the 1937/38 sea­son. City have won only 41, with 40 matches end­ing in draws.

But the City of old is a far cry from the one whose for­tunes changed dra­mat­i­cally since Sheikh Man­sour bin Zayed bin Sul­tan bin Zayed bin Khal­ifa Al Nahyan bought the club through the Abu Dhabi United Group for £210 mil­lion in 2008.

Since then, the club has be­come a se­ri­ous con­tender, not only in Eng­land but in Europe.

With a clus­ter of top-class play­ers, such as for­mer Liverpool winger Ra­heem Ster­ling, David Silva, Ser­gio “Kun” Agüero and Yaya Touré in his arse­nal – to men­tion just a few big stars – the Chilean has all the ar­tillery he needs to de­mol­ish Liverpool.

Klopp, on the other hand, would be hop­ing that the likes of De­jan Lovren, Joe Allen and Adam Lal­lana, who missed the mid­week Europa Cup clash against Augs­burg, make it back to bol­ster the fit-again Daniel Stur­ridge and the Brazil­ian Philippe Coutinho.

Cup fi­nals, by their na­ture, are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict. They are wont to pro­duce the un­like­li­est of re­sults.

So you may as well throw the stats book away and just watch.

Michael Oliver As­sis­tant ref­er­ees: Si­mon Ben­nett and Adrian Holmes Fourth of­fi­cial:

Bobby Madley Re­serve as­sis­tant ref­eree:

Ed­die Smart

PHOTO: MICHAEL RE­GAN / GETTY IM­AGES

PRODIGAL SON Ra­heem Ster­ling of Manch­ester City with Liverpool man­ager Jürgen Klopp last year

PHOTO: ALEX LIVESEY / GETTY IM­AGES

KEY MEN Yaya Touré of Manch­ester City with Daniel Stur­ridge of Liverpool

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