Jürgen Klopp has compared Liverpool to Rocky Balboa, hinting that Manchester City have all the pressure going into the new season but Pep Guardiola has dealt with the German’s comments with ease.
He’s not wrong. Liverpool aren’t the favourites and City are but it’s clearly a little mind game trick to place even more expectation on his rivals and to help ensure his side can go into the season without the weight of expectation making things even more difficult.
“We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago,” Klopp said. “We are the ones who have to do more and fight more – that must be our attitude.”
It’s not an unusual thing for a Premier League manager to do at all but Guardiola’s response is fantastic in my view as he absorbs the pressure and makes it clear that he is capable of handling the weight of expectation as he has proven at City, Bayern and Barcelona.
“Thank you, Jürgen,” Guardiola replied. “For nine years I’ve lived with it, no problem.
“Every season except the first one when I arrived at Barcelona, when I had people who didn’t know I was a manager, since then we have always been the favourites. But thank you, Jürgen. You are so kind.”
Liverpool and City are yet to play, both sides are scheduled to begin their Premier League campaigns on Sunday, but still, the mind games have begun.
The Reds are being billed as the most likely side to challenge for City’s crown as the kings of England.