Liverpool FC

Pep Guardiola has been proven wrong three times after controversial Liverpool claim

Liverpool FC

“Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone.”

Eyebrows were raised when Pep Guardiola went on the offensive following Man City’s 5-0 victory over Newcastle United earlier this month. Having seen the Reds draw 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur the day before, the victory had seen the Spaniard’s side move three points ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s men with three games left to play, obliterating their goal-difference advantage in the process.

But he was still stung by City’s Champions League semi-final exit to Real Madrid days earlier as his side missed out on the final despite leading 5-3 on aggregate heading into the 90th minute at the Bernabeu. Feeling his side weren’t given the credit their domestic efforts deserved following their latest European failings, he took aim at his title rivals.

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“Everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone,” he told beIN Sports. “Of course, because Liverpool has an incredible history in European competition, not in the Premier League – won one in 30 years.

“But it’s no problem at all. The situation is what it is… Liverpool alongside Man United are the most important teams in terms of history, titles, legacy, dramas, for many many things.

“But we are for the last 10, 12 years been there. I don’t care that the people want more Liverpool to win than us, that’s not the issue, that’s normal. Maybe there are more supporters around the world and here in England support Liverpool.”

When the comments were put to Klopp, the Reds manager laughed off such claims.

“I live in Liverpool, so here a lot of people want us to win the league, that’s true,” he said. “But even here, it’s probably only 50%. I’ve no idea if the whole country is supporting us. I don’t know that.

“It’s not the feeling I get, actually, when we go to other places and play there. It’s actually the opposite. But yeah, maybe he knows more about that than me.”

Following the bemused reaction to his claims, Guardiola would later clarify his comments while still painting his side as outsiders.

“I’m sure my English isn’t good after four or five years so maybe I don’t explain well,” the City boss said. “I said when you arrive at the time for titles, the teams with more tradition of winning leagues and winning Champions League, they have history and have more supporters in the media.

“But it happens in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid, in Germany with Bayern Munich, in Italy with Milan, Inter and the other ones. We are the new outsiders in the last decade. In that moment, of course there are people who don’t want Liverpool and like us to win. Liverpool fans want to win, and other fans who are not Liverpool want us to win it.

“I’m not saying all the country (are Liverpool fans) but in general because they are a team with more history in terms of titles, it’s normal. If you want to deny it, deny it. Maybe I’m wrong.

“But in countries all around the world there are two or three or four teams who people support more than the other ones. People support Liverpool, United, Arsenal more than the other ones because they have a lot of history.”

In truth, Guardiola does have a point. Liverpool do have more supporters across the world than Man City and they will have all, inevitably, wanted the Reds to come out on top in the Premier League title-race. But there were also plenty of supporters who wanted Klopp’s men to fail.

And that became crystal clear as proceedings on the final day of the Premier League season unfolded. At one point, with Man City trailing 2-0 at Aston Villa, Liverpool only needed a goal against Wolves to be champions.

But as the reigning champions fought back with three goals in six minutes to run out 3-2 winners over the Villans to clinch the title, celebrations weren’t just limited to the Etihad. In London, Manchester United fans celebrated at the Reds’ expense after hearing of City’s winner as their own side finished a dismal season by losing 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

Meanwhile at Stamford Bridge and the Emirates, Chelsea and Everton fans also celebrated City’s winner and their crowning as champions as their own sides beat Watford 2-1 and lost 5-1 to Arsenal respectively. And at Anfield, Wolves supporters taunted Liverpool by chanting, “You nearly won the league!” and “S*** on the Villa!” as it became a 20th league title would elude the Reds.

So much for everyone supporting Liverpool, with Klopp’s own experiences of away grounds proving to be more accurate than Guardiola’s claims. Yet, there was truth in the Spaniard’s ‘history’ reasoning.

More fans support the Reds than City because of their history. But that same fact is also why more opposition supporters long for Liverpool to fail.

City might have won four titles in the past five seasons, but such success still pales in comparison to the dominance of the Reds, Manchester United and Arsenal before them. Still the secondary side in their own city, despite the Red Devils’ failings, they just don’t generate the same reaction amongst others.

And while their own overnight rise backed by overseas billions is similar to C…

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