What Jürgen Klopp’s latest Liverpool side produced against Guardiola’s Manchester City was something to behold – and a privilege to watch…


A privilege. An absolute privilege to sit/stand through that.

For the money we pay, for the time we invest and for the unneeded extra heartbeats it creates, you want drama. You want entertainment. You want to feel jeopardy. You want to feel terrified and exhilarated at the same time. We got the lot. That game delivered.

Come the end, with our hearts leaping around our torsos, we took a point, are grateful for a point, feel sick it was only a point and yet still shudder that it might not have been even that.

City are fantastic and there’s a strong argument that they might be the best non-Red side we’ve ever seen at Anfield. I know, I know and I know the arguments but none of them explain away Phil Foden. He is a ludicrous footballer. His feet alone are insane. He was still running past people in my uncollected thoughts on the journey home. I wish he’d been born thirty miles to the west.

Liverpool too are fantastic. Inexplicably so. Alisson, Trent, Konate, Robbo and Salah? No. Caoimhin, Conor, Jarell, Joe and Harvey instead. It was enough and so nearly more. The stones on those lads. The absolute stugots to face that side and stare them down, especially at a goal down. Courage and courage and courage. Brawn against names.

Both managers are fantastic. Guardiola taking off De Bruyne for Kovacic was gutsy. The people around me cheered and then stopped because celebrating a substitution felt a bit weird, but I was fully onboard with it. I just kept gleefully mumbling ‘He’s come for a point! He’s taking a point,’ to the strangers either side of me. Sorry about the swearing, by the way. I’m not usually like that.

But he hadn’t come for a point. He knew what he was doing. He was just clawing back the midfield from Wataru and Alexis and if it meant sacrificing his most creative player then he’d make that call.

Jurgen’s moment of genius came earlier and it was all about momentum. Deflated at half time, the penalty, the near misses, the atmosphere cranked up and up and THEN he stands Mo and Robbo on the touchline. It was like throwing another ace on top of a revealed poker hand. It set the tone. We’re not just catching up anymore. We’re coming for you.

My absolute favourite moment was the captain’s tackle on Foden. A statement tackle in front of the dugout. Cheers from us, shouts from City as their man was flung fairly into the air. He could have stayed down and squeezed a talking point out of it but no. He gets up and slaps the Dutchman on the back. Respect going both ways. Let’s just get on with it because there’s so much to get on with. I loved that.

And there’s still so much to get on with. Arsenal have to go to the Etihad and then it starts. The big tops off fight in a car park. The shootout. Throwing everything, every punch and parry into the 15th round of a nine month scrap.

Arsenal have done brilliantly and to sit on top of the league in March is worthy of respect, but even if I were objective I can’t see them winning it. Muscle memory is vital here. The next champions played yesterday.

The game drew a line under the Klopp-Guardiola era. Pep said Jurgen has made him a better manager. Jurgen said that he had no idea where their corner routine came from and he said it with the glee of a man learning something new.

It’s like the Beach Boys releasing Pet Sounds to match The Beatles’ Revolver only for the lads to bring out Sgt Pepper. One inspires the other and we’re all the winner for it.

(Revolver’s better than both of them but let’s not get into that just now).

Jurgen also said that yesterday he looked at his team and asked if they’re ready for what’s to come.

Luis Diaz dancing down the wing, Jarell Quansah going chest to chest with Haaland, Endo and Macca fighting and finding space where there was none.

Yeah, they’re ready.

I’m not sure I am. I will be but I need a rest first.

This team. This bloody team. They take you as far as you think they can go and they go beyond.

A privilege. An absolute privilege.


Download The Anfield Wrap app for podcasts, video and writing all in one place…


Recent Posts: