Former Manchester City star Micah Richards believes Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League success with Liverpool has got under Pep Guardiola’s skin.
Almost a decade after Guardiola made Barcelona the kings of Europe for the second time, the Catalan has never been able to repeat that success with either Bayern Munich or City.
Guardiola landed a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles in Germany. In England, he has led City to back-to-back titles, a unique quadruple of Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Community Shield and a 100-point season.
But ahead of City’s trip to Anfield, Richards reckons that the sight of Jordan Henderson lifting the European Cup in 2019 would have rankled with the City boss.
Richards, who will be giving his expert opinion on Sky Sports on Sunday, said: “What Klopp has done – Champions League final, Champions League winner and Premier League winner – has been absolutely incredible.
“Everyone has always talked about Pep from his Barcelona days. Then when he went to Bayern. Then when he went to City.
“But he hasn’t won the Champions League for what, 10 years?
“Klopp comes to Liverpool and within his five-year spell he’s won the Champions League.
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“So of course it’s going to get under your skin, no matter if you admit it or not.
“That’s part of the rivalry they have. We all want to be the best we can be.”
Richards, a Premier League winner with City in 2012, spent a decade at the Etihad.
He doesn’t think the title will be decided at Anfield – even if City win there for the first time under Guardiola to move 10 points clear of the reigning champions with a game in hand.
Has Klopp got under Guardiola's skin? Have your say in the comments.
But after winning their last nine Premier League games to storm to the top of the table, he has warned that Guardiola’s men could seal the deal inside a month.
Richards added: “If it was a normal season, without covid and with fans, a City win would make me say ‘it’s done.’
“But the situation we’re in makes this different. Managers haven’t got time to work on tactics. It’s game, rest, game. Covid has made this game the survival of the fittest.
“Right now, because of the injuries Liverpool have, it’s going to be very difficult for them.
“City were written off a few weeks ago and they were in 10th place, so it’s too early to say it would be over because of the way this season has gone.
“If it’s a draw I think Liverpool are definitely still in it.
“City’s next fixtures are vital. First there’s Liverpool, then Spurs and Arsenal.
“If they come through that spell, then they will be title winners.”
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