It is Klopp vs. Guardiola once more: That is how the rivalry has performed out

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Within the run-up to final Sunday’s Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp compared the ongoing competition between the two clubs to another famous rivalry.

“I believe Nadal and Federer loved the rivalry that they had,” the Liverpool supervisor mentioned. “That is how it’s in sport. I would not say I am grateful Metropolis is that good, but it surely did not hurt our improvement.”

Tennis does not permit for attracts like soccer, in fact, however the truth that three of the groups’ final 4 conferences resulted in a tied scoreline actually hints on the evenness of the rivalry. (So does the truth that over the past 4 seasons, Pep Guardiola’s Metropolis has generated 339 points in league play to Liverpool’s 338.)

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A draw is not in play for the subsequent matchup, nevertheless. Even when it takes further time or a shootout, there shall be a winner in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal (stream LIVE Saturday 10:30 am ET on ESPN+) between the 2 English giants at Wembley. It’s their second matchup in per week — the two teams drew 2-2 at the Etihad on Sunday — and their third of what could possibly be 4 this season if the golf equipment each attain the Champions League remaining. However as “Klopp-Guardiola Week” attracts to a detailed, now’s an excellent time to look again at how Liverpool-Metropolis matches are likely to play out statistically. What tends to make the distinction (when something makes a distinction in any respect)?

When Guardiola took over Bayern Munich in 2013-14, the largest hurdle he and his group needed to clear was Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund. The mixture of their willingness to endure and their exploding counter-attacks have been confounding to Guardiola early of their rivalry. BVB would win three of their first 5 battles with Guardiola’s Bayern — 4-2 within the 2013 German Tremendous Cup, 3-0 in Munich in April 2014, and 2-0 in 2014’s Tremendous Cup — earlier than Bayern’s high quality started to take over.

“The 2 males make beguiling dance companions,” Marti Perarnau wrote in 2014’s Pep Confidential, “maybe as a result of they evoke Pep and Mourinho within the days once they created the tactical options to assist their respective groups, Barcelona and Real Madrid, obtain excellence. Will Klopp develop into the German Mourinho? … Klopp has the same character and the pair are like two expert fencers who will thrust and parry to unpick soccer’s enigmas.”

That is an extremely prognostic quote on Perarnau’s half, but it surely’s secure to say neither he nor anybody else had any thought of what would possibly occur when each of them left for England.


Possession charge: Metropolis 56% (60% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.1, Liverpool 3.9
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.08, Liverpool 0.04
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.05, Liverpool 0.04
Transition objectives*: Liverpool 1, Metropolis 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 11.6%, Metropolis 1.8%

* On this case “transition” means possessions that begin exterior your attacking third and final 20 seconds or fewer .

As with their stints in Germany, Klopp had established a head begin on his Catalan rival, taking on an underachieving Liverpool aspect in October 2015 and bringing in winger Sadio Mane, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and defender Joel Matip in his first offseason.

Their first battle, at Anfield, was determined early, with Wijnaldum heading in an Adam Lallana cross on an eighth-minute counterattack. Guardiola did not fairly have all of the items he craved simply but — amongst others, Metropolis would usher in Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus and goalkeeper Ederson over the subsequent 12 months or so — and Liverpool was in a position to successfully bunker in for a lot of the second half, permitting no photographs over the ultimate 31 minutes.


Possession charge: Metropolis 59% (60% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.4, Liverpool 3.7
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.12, Liverpool 0.12
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.19, Liverpool 0.16
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 5.7%, Liverpool 5.7%

Of their second assembly, Metropolis ultimately discovered a approach by way of Liverpool’s resistance. The Reds have been the extra harmful of the 2 groups at first, taking the lead on a James Milner penalty within the 51st minute. However Metropolis outshot Liverpool, 9-3, from that time ahead. Roberto Firmino practically doubled Liverpool’s lead within the sixtieth minute, however Sergio Aguero scored within the 69th, and Metropolis created virtually the entire good probabilities down the stretch.


Possession charge: Metropolis 66% (51% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 8.3, Liverpool 4.2
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.15, Liverpool 0.08
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.18, Liverpool 0.10
Transition objectives: Metropolis 3, Liverpool 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 12.5%, Liverpool 3.4%

This was a principally even match for 37 minutes. Aguero put Metropolis forward within the twenty fifth minute, however on the time of Mane’s crimson card for an unintentional however brutal boot to Ederson’s face — it broke Ederson’s cheek and jaw — Liverpool had tried seven photographs to Metropolis’s six. It was one-way visitors from there. Liverpool did not handle one other shot, and two Jesus objectives, adopted by two from Leroy Sane, made this a rout.


Possession charge: Metropolis 64% (52% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 6.2, Liverpool 3.4
Pictures per possession: Liverpool 0.15, Metropolis 0.10
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.07, Liverpool 0.05
Transition objectives: Liverpool 4, Metropolis 1
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 8.3%, Metropolis 4.6%

Metropolis would roll to the league title in 2017-18, however Liverpool’s squad was virtually full. Mohamed Salah got here aboad in July 2017, and whereas he would not play on this match, Virgil van Dijk had been introduced in days earlier than. Of their first full-length encounter with the Salah-Firmino-Mane entrance line, Metropolis had few solutions. (It will take a number of conferences earlier than Guardiola got here up with any.)

This match was 1-1 at half-time, however every member of the trio scored in a 10-minute span early within the second half. Liverpool loved respectable possession numbers early within the match however went into full counterattack mode when it obtained the prospect, and the Reds handed Metropolis its first league lack of the season.


Possession charge: Metropolis 66% (60% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 7.0, Liverpool 3.6
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.10, Liverpool 0.09 xG per shot: Liverpool 0.17, Metropolis 0.06
Transition objectives: Liverpool 2, Metropolis 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 7.6%, Metropolis 4.8%

Over these groups’ subsequent six conferences, Liverpool would take pleasure in the next xG-per-shot common 4 instances, profitable three of these battles and drawing within the fourth. This has been key for the Reds on this collection — if you happen to’ve obtained these finishers, and also you’re creating higher probabilities than your opponents, it is actually troublesome for mentioned opponents to win, even with Metropolis’s expertise. Within the first leg of this Champions League quarterfinal, Liverpool’s entrance line once more did ridiculous harm. Liverpool once more scored a knockout with a flurry of punches: three objectives in 20 minutes, first from Salah, then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, then Mane.

At this stage, Liverpool was very very like Klopp’s greatest Dortmund groups; whereas it has slowly developed in possession, its greatest moments in 2017-18 got here from vertical assaults.


Possession charge: Metropolis 69% (69% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 6.2, Liverpool 2.9
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.19, Liverpool 0.05
xG per shot: Liverpool 0.16, Metropolis 0.06
Transition objectives: Metropolis 1, Liverpool 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 7.6%, Liverpool 4.8%

Down three objectives from the primary leg, Metropolis wanted a miracle on this one, and Jesus gave the Etihad house crowd hope with a transition objective within the second minute. However Liverpool bunkered in and allowed Metropolis minimal high quality takes care of that. Towards an more and more determined opponent, Liverpool calmly put the match away with second-half objectives from Salah (placing the ball in after Ederson saved a Mane shot) and, after a deep turnover, Firmino.

Thus far, Klopp had taken 12 factors to Guardiola’s six of their first six head-to-head battles. As was the case in Germany, he was an issue Guardiola was gradual to unravel.


Possession charge: Metropolis 51% Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.9, Liverpool 5.7
Pictures per possession: Liverpool 0.08, Metropolis 0.07
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.18, Liverpool 0.05
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 6.7%, Metropolis 2.2%

In 2018-19, the 2 golf equipment every reached peak type. Metropolis outlasted Liverpool, 98 factors to 97, within the biggest Premier League title race ever, whereas Liverpool consoled itself by profitable the Champions League. New Metropolis addition Riyad Mahrez had an opportunity to make a direct influence within the rivalry, however he skied a penalty within the 86th minute. That was the one shot both group took value greater than 0.08 xG.

Guardiola’s group was way more passive from a urgent standpoint and way more cautious of Liverpool’s prowess in transition. It utterly muted Liverpool’s assault, albeit whereas principally muting its personal, too.


Possession charge: Liverpool 51% (Metropolis 59% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.4, Liverpool 5.4
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.08, Liverpool 0.06
xG per shot: Liverpool 0.21, Metropolis 0.12
Transition objectives: Metropolis 1, Liverpool 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 7.4%, Liverpool 3.7%

Liverpool held a seven-point league benefit heading into this contest, and although it was early January, this was all however a must-win for Metropolis. It will, in fact, win it, due to Sane’s decider within the 72nd minute. Because it had been in October, Metropolis have been extraordinarily pragmatic right here, trying to maneuver the ball down the wings extra (within the title of holding the center sturdy and preventative in opposition to counterattacks) and in come circumstances sacrificing the ball altogether as soon as forward. It led for 46% of the match’s possessions and loved a possession charge of simply 40% in that span.

Consequently, Liverpool generated virtually no transition alternatives. Guardiola was studying to commerce a few of his possession needs for workmanlike outcomes. This match supplied the deciding margin within the title race.


Possession charge: Liverpool 53% (52% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Liverpool 5.7, Metropolis 5.2
Pictures per possession: Liverpool 0.18, Metropolis 0.09 xG per shot: Metropolis 0.18, Liverpool 0.14
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 6.5%, Liverpool 6.5%

For the primary time in these coaches’ English rivalry, set items performed a job because the groups started the season within the Group Protect. Raheem Sterling gave Metropolis an early lead on an prolonged free kick routine, then the rarest of scoring combos — Van Dijk to Matip after a deflected free kick — drew Liverpool even within the 77th minute. Metropolis would win on penalties, however for our functions we’ll name this one a draw.

Metropolis was as soon as once more extraordinarily pragmatic right here and was way more prepared to aim lengthy passes downfield — 13% of its passes have been designated as lengthy balls, simply the biggest proportion so far on this collection. It will match that determine in each conferences this season. Nonetheless, Liverpool dominated after Metropolis’s early objective, trying 14 photographs (2.0) to Metropolis’s three (0.52) over the ultimate 70 minutes and hitting the publish twice.


Possession charge: Metropolis 55% (59% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.2, Liverpool 4.2
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.18, Liverpool 0.12
xG per shot: Liverpool 0.09, Metropolis 0.08
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 8.2%, Liverpool 6.1%

Liverpool’s skill to create high-quality probabilities within the Group Protect was a warning signal. Metropolis would battle defensively for patches of 2019-20, and this match was the fourth time in 12 Premier League matches that it allowed at the least two objectives. Fabinho scored on a long-distance screamer 5 minutes in, then a swap of play tore Metropolis’s protection broad open and set the desk for an Andy Robertson-to-Salah objective within the thirteenth minute. Mane gave it a 3-0 benefit earlier than Metropolis’s assault lastly began producing respectable probabilities late.


Possession charge: Liverpool 53% (Metropolis 54% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Liverpool 6.1, Metropolis 5.4
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.16, Liverpool 0.12
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.17, Liverpool 0.09
Transition objectives: Metropolis 1, Liverpool 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 11.1%, Metropolis 7.8%

Having clinched the Premier League title with seven matches remaining on this COVID-delayed season, Liverpool battled a little bit of an consideration span problem. It got here out firing in opposition to Metropolis, although, producing a pair of high-quality scoring probabilities for Mane and Firmino within the opening levels. However as soon as De Bruyne scored on a penalty within the twenty fifth minute, the floodgates opened. Sterling and Phil Foden scored earlier than half-time, and an personal objective by Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 4-0.


Possession charge: Metropolis 54% (52% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 6.5, Liverpool 5.4
Pictures per possession: Liverpool 0.12, Metropolis 0.08
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.20, Liverpool 0.12
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 4.7%, Metropolis 1.2%

Metropolis’s rebound wasn’t but full following its 4-0 romp in July. It will drop factors in seven of its first 12 matches within the unusual, congested and principally crowdless 2020-21 season. By late-December 2020, it had discovered its newest dominant type — it hasn’t misplaced it since — but it surely was nonetheless a piece in progress right here, and Guardiola was taking no probabilities.

Walker pulled down Mane within the field to provide Liverpool an early penalty (Salah transformed it), however after Jesus evened the match within the thirty first minute, motion floor to a halt. Metropolis tried simply 4 photographs over the ultimate 58 minutes — one a missed penalty from De Bruyne — and whereas Liverpool tried seven photographs, none have been from inside 12 meters of the objective.


Possession charge: Liverpool 56% (55% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Liverpool 7.7, Metropolis 6.2
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.10, Liverpool 0.10 xG per shot: Metropolis 0.43, Liverpool 0.15
Transition objectives: none
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Liverpool 11.9%, Metropolis 6.0%

Accidents overran Liverpool in 2020-21. With Van Dijk and mainly each different centre-back out, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson — each midfielders beneath regular circumstances — began at centre-back for Liverpool on this one. The Reds nonetheless put up a improbable struggle. It generated a great deal of strain up entrance and outshot Metropolis, 8-5, over the primary 72 minutes.

Liverpool’s transition protection was an enormous downside this season, and for apparent causes, however a pair of uniquely dreadful turnovers from Alisson flipped this one in Metropolis’s favor. The primary arrange an Ilkay Gundogan objective within the 73rd minute, the second a Sterling objective within the 76th. This one obtained out of hand, however Liverpool punched above its weight for some time.


Possession charge: Metropolis 51% (50% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.4, Liverpool 5.1
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.12, Liverpool 0.06
xG per shot: Metropolis 0.14, Liverpool 0.13
Transition objectives: Metropolis 1, Liverpool 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 9.2%, Liverpool 9.1%

Each groups have been again at full energy and throwing haymakers. Metropolis was as soon as once more pragmatic, sacrificing some ball management to assist its transition protection, and Liverpool managed zero transition shot makes an attempt all recreation.

Actually, Liverpool managed only one shot try, interval, within the first half. Metropolis tried seven, together with a short-distance transition try from Foden on the 20-minute mark, however could not discover the web. Liverpool took management within the second half, taking the lead in each the 59th (due to Mane) and 76th minutes (Salah). However in each cases, Metropolis shortly responded to even the match.

“That is why the Premier League is the very best,” an exhilarated Guardiola mentioned after the match. “It was nice, actually nice.”

This match was a reaffirmation of this rivalry’s twists and turns. Neither group appears able to holding a bonus over the opposite for lengthy.


Possession charge: Metropolis 55% (59% whereas tied)
Passes per possession: Metropolis 5.9, Liverpool 4.7
Pictures per possession: Metropolis 0.11, Liverpool 0.06
xG per shot: Liverpool 0.20, Metropolis 0.10
Transition objectives: Liverpool 1, Metropolis 0
Pct. of possessions beginning in remaining third: Metropolis 11.5%, Liverpool 7.2%

For under the second time on this collection, set items performed a job. Type of. A fast restart on a free kick arrange a Silva-to-De Bruyne objective within the fifth minute, whereas Joao Cancelo discovered Jesus with a beautiful, lengthy help after a cleared nook within the thirty seventh.

Simply as Metropolis had carried out within the first match of the season, Liverpool responded every time. It did not generate many probabilities on this match – Metropolis’s possession and urgent have been far simpler than in most up-to-date matches between these two groups — however its expertise in creation saved it. An unimaginable lengthy go from Thiago flipped the pitch and ultimately arrange a Trent Alexander-Arnold-to-Diogo Jota objective within the thirteenth minute, and proper after half-time, Mane scored on a quick break after an exquisite pair of passes from Alexander-Arnold and Salah. Liverpool tried simply two photographs over the ultimate 38 minutes, seemingly prepared to commerce a possible win to keep away from the harm of a possible loss. (Metropolis would have gone up 4 factors in a really tight Premier League race had it discovered a late winner, they usually virtually did precisely that.)

Metropolis’s possession benefits have been stark on this one and would possibly make it the favorites at Wembley on Saturday. Then once more, if latest historical past is any indication, the plot is about to twist as soon as extra. It appears one ought to by no means count on one group’s benefit to final too lengthy.

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