Manchester City and Liverpool have been dominating the Premier League for the last few years. Is this fixture becoming England’s El Clasico?
There are two types of derby matches in football. One is geographical. Like the Merseyside derby, or the Milan derby. Two teams in the same city.
The other, is generally between the traditional top two teams in the league. Like El Clasico in Spain between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“For us, it’s all. It’s all. If we win, we have a very good month.”
“People feel the match. It’s a different feeling.”
“The atmosphere, the people, with the kids, it’s nice.”
“I think it’s one of the biggest games in the world, really.”
“When the Clasico comes around, it’s just number one, it’s the priority.”
“The Clasico is timeless.”Copa 90
You get the idea of how important this game is. And there’s the same kind of match in Germany, Der Klassiker between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
In Italy, it’s called the Derby d’Italia, and it’s played between Juventus and Inter.
“San Siro is full to the rafters as Inter welcome the old enemy Juventus.”
“Mazzola for Boninsegna, kept out by a sublime Dino Zoff.”
“Inter waiting for their moment to strike on the break.”
“And just when Inter seemed on top, Juventus pounced.”Serie A
So far, England hasn’t really had that kind of match. For a start, there haven’t been two teams who have both dominated the top flight for long periods of time.
But is one starting to emerge?
Over the last four seasons, Manchester City have won the Premier League three times and Liverpool have won once.
This season, the two sides – managed by arguably the two best coaches in world football – are separated in the table by just one point.
And while Pep Guardiola is still searching for his first Champions League win as City boss, Jurgen Klopp has beat him to it with Liverpool, lifting the famous European trophy in 2019.
Manchester City and Liverpool have played each other in the FA Cup semi final this season too.
“It’s Liverpool who are heading to the final of the FA Cup.”Liverpool FC
That was a 3-2 win for Jurgen Klopp’s men, but in the league there was nothing between them this season with both games finishing 2-2.
In fact, the overall head-to-head between the two bosses is extremely tight. They’ve played each other 24 times. Jurgen Klopp has won 10 of those encounters to Pep Guardiola’s nine, and there have been five draws.
With such an intense rivalry between them, you might expect some friction in their relationship. But – on the surface at least – they have a mutual respect for each other.
Here’s what Jurgen Klopp says about his adversary.
“Our families met. And I can tell you, somebody who has a family like Pep Guardiola must be a good person. His missus and the kids…outstanding. And it’s important for me. During the game, whatever he says or whatever I say, it’s not that…I wanna win desperately. And he wants to do that. We are completely different as personalities, stuff like this. But nonetheless…I like him.”Blood Red: Liverpool FC
And Pep Guardiola’s view on his opponent…
“Our relations…we are not friends, we do not see each other…we do not have dinner…well we will have dinner together one day in the Hall of Fame but we don’t lunch together…I don’t have…I have his telephone number but I don’t call him. I have a lot of respect but…he knows…next time I am going to try to beat him.”Sky Sports Football
Currently, there’s a 14 point gap between Liverpool in second and Chelsea in third. So it doesn’t seem like the two sides at the top are going to relinquish their dominance in the Premier League any time soon.
There’s also the small matter of the Champions League. Both Manchester City and Liverpool have reached the semi-finals. So there could be a face off between the two in Europe’s most prestigious competition as well as the fight to win the Premier League.
Liverpool have already won the Carabao Cup and there’s an FA Cup final clash with Chelsea to look forward to. That means they could win a historic quadruple this year, a feat that no other side has ever achieved.
Of course if they do it, it will mean that Pep Guardiola will walk away empty handed this year…and we know that’ll be almost impossible for him to swallow.
So perhaps it is time that we called this fixture the English El Clasico.
Today’s story was written by Chloe Beresford and mixed by Ella Hill.