You find that difficult to believe? Me too! But it is not surprising anymore to hear that, is it?
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has blamed Manchester City’s spending for his team’s failure to defend the Premier League title. The Reds who were in red-hot form last term fell like a pack of cards this time around. The team has been a shadow of itself.
That has been mainly due to serious long-term injuries suffered by several key players. Chief among them is Virgil van Dijk. That has disrupted the rhythm of the team leading to a series of poor results that have put the team in a very difficult position. Qualification for next season’s Champions League is now seriously under threat unless the team picks up form fast.
Apparently, everyone knows what has been the problem for the Anfield side, including the manager. But why not use the opportunity to shine some more light on Manchester City’s spending to further the narrative that the Cityzens are buying success?
Of course, that is exactly what the German gaffer has done. He has used Man City’s spending as the reason why his and other teams are now playing catch-up in the league.
In his press conference ahead of the Reds meeting with Fulham on Sunday, he was asked if Liverpool’s drop in form this season was inevitable given the team’s achievements in the last two campaigns and he responded: “I don’t think so. That it goes constantly in one direction (up), I’m not sure if that’s possible or not.
“There are other teams in the world who have done that. But you can only do that if your problems are not getting bigger than the solutions you can have.
“The most difficult league to stay on top of everything for a long, long period is in England. There is one team that maybe has everything for it - the team, the players, the manager, the money and all these kind of things - and that’s Man City.
“All the rest have to fight with all they have to get close to them. And when you are close to them, you can maybe make it, as we showed last year.”
It is difficult to believe that Klopp has not chosen to say this just to further a narrative and shift attention from his own failure to deal with the problems his team has faced this season.
For starters, Liverpool has been wildly successful in the last two years. The Anfield side won both the Champions League as well as a first league title of the Premier League era in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Klopp also smiled home with The Best FIFA Men’s Coach of the year award. He won the award back-to-back for two years in a row.
These feats were achieved despite City’s supposed spending spree and having the best of everything including the manager. Did FIFA make a mistake then? And why has the money not been able to purchase the Champions League trophy though?
Manchester City is still burdened with the pain of never having won the Champions League ever. So if it was just a question of money then maybe the team would be the Real Madrid of the modern era winning the competition back-to-back-to-back.
The Blues would also be the Manchester United of the modern era winning the Premier League three times in a row (twice) as Sir Alex Ferguson did back in the day. Of course, there were no complaints of the Red Devils out-spending everyone else.
But then again, Klopp claimed other teams tried to get close to the Cityzens last term. Is that not being economical with the truth as far as Liverpool is concerned?
The records show that the Reds finished 18 points ahead of City on the league table and raced to a comfortable Premier League triumph while Arsenal collected the FA Cup. City had to settle for just the Carabao Cup.
With 18 points ahead of the nearest rival, Liverpool were definitely not playing catch-up. If any team was playing catch-up, it was Pep Guardiola’s.
Speaking of which the Catalan dug deep and went back to the drawing board to plot a comeback strategy. Although City still started the current campaign poorly, He has been helped by his opponents’ poor form and injury problems as well as his team’s new-found consistency.
That has enabled the Blues take charge of the title race overtaking Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United who all topped the table at some point in the season.
The least a sportsman should do is admit your opponent was better on the day (or in the season) and give them credit for a job well done.
Actually, that is for those who play fair. Not those who have an agenda to cast their opponent in bad light out of jealousy.
Jurgen Klopp has a history of doing just that.
It is understandable then that he could not resist the urge to do it again. Even when the whole world knows that Liverpool failed to defend the title this season because of injuries to key players, Klopp would rather have them think otherwise.
Maybe that will help take away the spotlight from his team’s failure.
Besides, it is easy to blame it on Manchester City.