Liverpool may have won the league at a canter in historical fashion having dropped just seven points all season, yet manager Jurgen Klopp has played down the notion that the English champions will ‘need to make a statement’ when his team Manchester City on Thursday.
The Premier League winners will receive a guard of honour from the team that pipped them to the title by a solitary point last season as the dethroned champions saw Klopp and his team confirmed league conquerers following City’s defeat to Chelsea last week.
Despite having won the division after a record-breaking 31 matches, Liverpool still have a lot to play for with numerous records in their sight, including City and Guardiola’s record points haul of 100 set two years ago.
It’s a match that no matter the circumstances has quickly become the most competitive and anticipated fixture in the league with both outfits having dominated the English game for the best part of three seasons.
Despite the growing rivalry between both parties, Klopp believes that the result will have no bearings to how events might transpire next season and feels there is no pressure on his team to get is result after being crowned runaway champions.
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“I don’t think we have to make a statement,” Klopp said. “What would change for next year if we beat City tomorrow night or if they beat us?
“If we win people will say we are the best team in the league and if they win people will say City are better but we won the league. That is really not so important.
“For next season, for sure not. We both have to be ready for next year, not that I will worry too much about City, but that we all have to be ready.
“This game tomorrow is a very important game because it is the only game we play. City see it exactly the same way.”
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Klopp is, of course, spot on.
Indeed, the fixture will be tightly contested and will see two of Europe’s biggest hitters come to the fore yet no matter what the result, one fixture will not determine who is superior.
Liverpool have surrendered just seven points all season and have shattered numerous records along the way.
City themselves have already retained the League Cup and are on course to win both domestic cups for a second season and are also firmly still in Champions League contention.
While it will be fascinating to watch both teams’ contrasting playing styles as well as see which manager will win the tactical battle on the night, the reality is that one match will not define who is the primary dominator in English football.
This also isn’t to say there aren’t implications to be drawn that could have a significant effect on how proceedings fair next season.
If Liverpool are to do the double over their rivals it will showcase that Klopp and his players could still retain their Premier League crown next season even if their relentless consistency this campaign were to take a drop-off next season.
It was, indeed, this fixture last season that ultimately cost Liverpool the title following their only defeat of the 2018/19 campaign at the Etihad.
While Liverpool have lost just two fixtures in two seasons, City have been defeated 12 times in that same timeframe which would suggest that Guardiola’s team are more vulnerable and sceptical to dropping points.
Because of both team’s quite ludicrous consistency over the past three seasons, titles can be won and lost in one-off fixtures with the effect of surrendering points in any circumstance detrimental. This creates more of an emphasis when both teams are faced against each other as typically there would be greater significance on the fixture.
However, while City have showcased their own morality this campaign following two record-breaking points tallies over the past two seasons, Liverpool have maintained their devastating standards to see themselves firmly back atop of their perch.
With both teams rewriting the meaning of the term consistency in recent times, rather than fixate on the competitive nature between both rivals, this fixture should be celebrated without the need for a result as two of the best teams and managers on the continent lock horns in the next chapter of this rapidly rising and exhilarating rivalry.