Pep Guardiola calls Liverpool 'winners' and takes swipe at Man United

Pep Guardiola of Manchester City is blowing a kiss to their fans after the Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage in London, on May 11, 2024.

Liverpool will need to take something from its final game of the season against Wolves to ensure it clears the 80-point mark. For a side in the title race for so long, it's quite the downfall — triggered, many would say, by a couple of poor results in quick succession against Manchester United.

Nonetheless, the story of the two teams' seasons could hardly be more different. Jürgen Klopp has not been able to deliver the dream farewell, but he has won another piece of silverware to add to the collection, and Liverpool has played far better football than Manchester United on the way to booking a Champions League place. Certainly, Pep Guardiola is in no doubt over which of Manchester City's rivals have been the more impressive in recent times.

Indeed, Guardiola has insisted that Liverpool remain 'winners', despite the late-season collapse. He chalked up a lot of the decisive results to bad luck, and credited Klopp for running Manchester City close for a third time.

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“I saw Liverpool in the last weeks could not fight with Arsenal, but do you know the way they lose the chance to go and fight to the end?" Guardiola asked, via This is Anfield. “I saw the game against Crystal Palace second half, the game against United – the chances they missed looked unbelievable, you cannot believe it.

“I saw, I asked give me all the chances Liverpool missed, but missed without a ‘keeper, nothing, and they missed it. And for that reason they are not fighting to the end.

“They are losers? No. They are failures? No. They are incredible, the same team that fights against us these many, many years. In the end, tell me how these incredible attacking players Liverpool has, they don’t score a goal? For that reason, they didn’t win, it can happen.

“But what’s important with Liverpool is that they are winners because in the end they fought for four titles, being there."

Meanwhile, Guardiola hit out at complaints over Manchester City's financial dominance. He pointed to the spending on the other side of the city, where Manchester United's title drought has extended beyond a decade despite some astronomical spending.

"It’s boring? It’s not, it’s so difficult. But before, it was the money!

“If that was the reason why, Manchester United should have won all the titles, all of them. And the second? Chelsea, all the titles. And the third? Arsenal, all the titles. Because they spend much more money in the last five/six years than us." says: Just because Manchester United has invested vast sums poorly, Manchester City is not off the hook for its spending. But at the very least, it's true that the Etihad outfit has spent its many millions well.

It's also notable that Liverpool did not get a mention as one of the teams that has spent heavily in recent times. Guardiola knows that in net spend terms, Klopp has had his side punching well above its weight for years, which no doubt explains the vast amount of respect he has for his long-time adversary.

He's right to conclude that Liverpool are 'winners' for the way they have so often put out sides capable of competing for (and sometimes capturing) the very highest honors. But coming a close second so often is only such a significant achievement because of how one-sided the league has become, and Guardiola cannot talk away the concerns over Manchester City's increasing dominance of the division.