The race for the Premier League title is finely poised, and only two points separate Liverpool and Manchester City with six games remaining. To their credit, the Reds have been one of the most formidable outfits in England’s top-flight, only sustaining one defeat in 33 league games. Their transformation from the team that Jurgen Klopp inherited in 2015 to the team that are matching City toe-to-toe has been equally startling and pronounced.
Indeed, Liverpool’s improvement under the German’s tutelage has been somewhat consistent as evidenced by reaching the League Cup and Europa League finals in the 2015-16 season, before failing to attain a memorable sixth Champions League crown, losing to Real Madrid in the final last season. A brief look at the squad that Klopp inherited to the one that he has crafted is indicative of the development that has occurred at Liverpool, a thoroughly competitive outfit on both the domestic and European stages.
Despite said improvement, and despite the inclusion of a 44-goal-a-season superstar, and the presence of one of the world’s most assured and proficient defenders, Liverpool’s squad is inferior to Manchester City. This isn’t a slight against Liverpool; instead, it’s a reflection of the immense financial power that City deploy and the intrinsic allure of Pep Guardiola.
Since Pep Guardiola took charge of the Citizens in the summer of 2016, the club have recorded a net expenditure of £384.57M, contrastingly, in the same period, Liverpool have totalled a net expenditure of £115.27M, £269.3M less than their rivals for the Premier League crown.
Naturally, investment doesn’t translate instantaneously towards development and improvement. Further, to focus solely on the differing financial muscle of teams would simplify and negate more nuanced factors such as strategy, preparation and winning experience. Nonetheless, City have utilised their financial muscle effectively, and most of the signings made during Pep Guardiola’s spell in charge have been advantageous for the club.
Furthermore, when shrewd investment is coupled with the leadership and management of a ruthless winner, and one of football’s finest tacticians, the result is rather exceptional. Currently, City are a team who can establish a domestic monopoly in the Premier League, having already won the league last season with a record number of points, victories, goals and the highest goal difference in the division’s history, they’re leading the pack once again.
Despite being in April, with the conclusion of the season fast-approaching, the quadruple – remarkably – is a plausible and attainable target for Manchester City. The League Cup has already been secured, and City sealed their place in the FA Cup final this weekend, the ultimate demonstration of their domestic domination.
Furthermore, as a product of their astute investment and effective recruitment, Manchester City’s squad flaunt unrivalled depth, particularly in attacking positions. Six Manchester City players, Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero, Jesus, Silva and Sane, have hit double figures for goals in all competitions this season. Only three Liverpool players have achieved this feat, Mane, Salah, and Firmino.
Such is the varied and adaptive nature of Manchester City’s options, Pep Guardiola has employed four different formations in the league this season, further reinforcing the extent of their depth and tactical adaptability.
When examining Liverpool’s achievements in this context, the mere act of matching City becomes praiseworthy, but there’s a genuine possibility that the Reds can conclude their wait for their inaugural Premier League crown.
Manchester City’s calibre has been heightened significantly by Pep Guardiola, and the depth that they possess is unparalleled in the Premier League. If Liverpool are successful in their endeavours to dismantle City at the summit of the table, it should be considered as one of the greatest achievements in the division’s history. With inferior financial muscle, an inferior squad, and inferior options, Liverpool are doing tremendously well to equal Manchester City’s achievements.