To describe Liverpool and Manchester City as a “rivalry” is perhaps a bit of a stretch. The majority of rivalries have a rich history of competition, and truthfully there’s only been a handful of games over a handful of seasons where Liverpool and City have been at it, hammer and tongs, on a relatively even keel, with a lot on the line.
But it certainly has the potential to be a real rivalry, especially with the added spice of Pep Guardiola vs Jürgen Klopp, a battle that certainly could be close to being a proper rivalry. Whilst Pep has had the edge in terms of league competition over Klopp, the individual games between the two managers have been much more evenly matched over the years. Liverpool under Klopp and City under Pep have now met four times in the league, with two wins for the Reds, and one for the Citizens.
However, it is also fair to note that the rivalry in its current incarnation pre-dates Pep and Klopp. It pre-dates Klopp and if we’re being honest, it even pre-dates Liverpool’s incredible 3-2 win over City in 2014. So let’s have a brief look at the recent history of this fixture, as well as some of the insane highlights.
The Beginning – 2012 League Cup Semi-Final: Liverpool win 3-2 on aggregate
Liverpool’s last piece of silverware is probably the beginning of this rivalry taking shape. The first leg at the Etihad was decided by an early penalty from Gerrard, and the Reds took a 1-0 aggregate lead back to Anfield.
Twice at Anfield, City struck back, first through Nigel De Jong and then through Edin Dzeko. But Liverpool were not to be denied against the eventual title-winners, and first Stevie G nailed his second penalty of the tie, before an equaliser on the night 17 minutes from time from Craig Bellamy denied City an away goals win, despite a nervy final fifteen. It was a deserved win over two-legs from the Reds, but the sort of pulsating cup tie that Liverpool have been famous for over the years. And fair enough it was the first time we saw Liverpool come against a good City side when it mattered, but it was also probably the start of a pulsating rivalry.
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