Pep Guardiola sees Barcelona vs Real Madrid comparison in Liverpool vs Man City rivalry

Pep Guardiola likened Manchester City’s dramatic end-of-season showdowns with Liverpool to the fierce rivalry he had with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid in 2010-11. The Blues face Jurgen Klopp’s team for the second time in six days in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final and could meet them again in the Champions League final at the end of next month.

City still have the Treble in their sights, while Liverpool can perform an unprecedented Quadruple, having already bagged the Carabao Cup this season. One of those dreams will end in tomorrow’s meeting, but the prospect of four big games against close rivals, in three different competitions, was compared by Guardiola to the days when the two Spanish giants went head-to-head four times in April and May 11 years ago

Asked if he had witnessed anything like this current sequence of games against Liverpool before, Guardiola did not hesitate, saying: “Just like at Barcelona. We played Madrid four times in 10 days. It is the second time that we are fighting against the same team.”

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The Barca-Real clashes were actually spaced over 17 days, and ended with his Catalan aces taking the honors by getting a draw in the league to help secure the La Liga title, and winning over two legs of a Champions League semi-final before beating Manchester United in the final. But they lost in the Copa del Rey final as Mourinho’s side thwarted a clean sweep.

The FA Cup is one competition in which Guardiola has not had a lot of joy since arriving at City, the 2019 triumph being his only success in five seasons, compared to three Premier League triumphs and five League Cups. City have a chance to reach a second FA Cup final under Guardiola – they were beaten by Chelsea last season at the same stage and the year before they lost out to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

Guardiola said: “I would have loved to reach five finals. This would have been my dream. But I have no regrets. Win or lose I am close to them. We are now one month from the end of the season. We are in two semi-finals. We are in the Premier League top of the league. We are so satisfied but it is not enough.

Manchester City meet Liverpool again in the FA Cup less than a week after their Premier League meeting

“In six seasons together we reached five semi-finals of the FA Cup and this is an incredible achievement and shows our consistency. But we didn’t perform well in these games, especially Arsenal against Mikel and the other ones. Last year was quite similar to today. We wanted (to beat Borussia) Dortmund to qualify for the semi-finals. We traveled and in three days we had Chelsea here (at Wembley).

“It is the same situation and hopefully we can perform a little bit better than last season. Against Chelsea we were a bit flat, especially in the first half. In the second half we tried to push them a bit but it was difficult to break their defensive system. But we have a chance to reach the end in a storybook tournament.

“Years ago the FA Cup was probably more important than the league. So I know how nice the game is and with both fans and teams trying to have a good game. You always learn when you play Liverpool. When you play in a short time you learn more. It is like basketball.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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