A backlash was expected when Manchester City broke the English transfer records to sign Jack Grealish. Rival fans have been at the forefront. But Jurgen Klopp leads the way when it comes to managers. Pep Guardiola is having none of that.
Klopp has been in the habit of criticising Man City for their spending. Sometimes it’s an easy way to explain away his team’s failures. At other times it’s to show just how much of a genius he is to achieve so much more than big spenders Manchester City and their manager.
The German manager took an aim at Man City and Guardiola when he stated in a recent interview. He stated that they haven no limits in their spending, thereby implying an unfair advantage for the Catalan.
“We are allowed to spend the money we earn... they obviously don’t have any limits,” Klopp said.
But Guardiola has wasted no time in responding to him. The City boss believes Manchester City are adhering to Financial Fair Play protocol and are in a position to spend as a result of good management by the ownership.
“Some owners want to benefit, our owners don’t want any benefits. So they don’t invest in the team, while we invest what we can,” Guardiola said.
“Before there were only one or two clubs. Now there is Chelsea with [Roman] Abramovich and our club with Sheikh Mansour. They want to be buying into football. What is the problem? We have limits for Financial Fair Play and if they don’t agree [with City’s spending] they can go to court and make a statement.
“We bought Jack Grealish because we sold [players] for £60m so, in the end, we have spent £40m. We follow absolutely the rules. At our club, the owners don’t want to lose money of course but they want to spend, so we can do it.
“Years ago, when Manchester United won a lot of titles, it was because they spent more money than other clubs. Do you remember that? At that moment Man City couldn’t do it because we did not have the owners we have now.”
Klopp is likely speaking from a place of frustration. The Reds’ boss has been Guardiola’s biggest rival in the last four years. City have won three of the last four Premier League titles while Liverpool won the remaining one.
He will be desperate to stop the Blues and so annoyed to see the team getting even stronger.
In the current transfer window, Liverpool have bought one player; RB Leipzig’s centre-back Ibrahima Konate for £36 million ($50m). The club lost Georginio Wijnaldum on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and have not brought in a replacement for the influential Netherlands midfielder.
Unable to make more signings for whatever reasons, the German gaffer is already looking for excuses just in case things go wrong in the course of the campaign. Or perhaps he is just trying to distract his biggest rival to gain some form of advantage.
At this rate, one can only imagine how infuriated he will be and the lengths he would go to criticise City if the club succeeds in bringing Harry Kane to the Etihad Stadium before the transfer window closes.
It does appear Guardiola is ready for him. The City boss' response suggests he is not in the mood for any nonsense. Probably the best attitude to have as the league kicks off and the competition begins.
Killer mode, activated?