Jamie Carragher says that Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield is more of a grudge match off the pitch than on it.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds go into the game six points clear of Pep Guardiola’s reigning Premier League champions, with many claiming that a victory would see them place one hand on a first top-flight title for 30 years.
The rivalry between the pair has cranked up in recent years, with City pipping Liverpool to the title by a point last season, only for the Reds to make up for that disappointment by winning the Champions League.
And to Carragher – who is Liverpool’s second all-time appearance-maker with 737 – the feud off the pitch is obvious.
“I do not believe I am exaggerating when I say the hierarchies of Liverpool and City cannot stand each other, resentments which are reflected in the fanbases,” he wrote in his column for The Telegraph .
“City appear to suspect Liverpool of lobbying governing bodies to investigate the legality of their transfer spending, while they make no secret of their belief that the positive coverage of the Klopp era is disproportionate when compared to Guardiola’s trophy haul, and City’s in general since the Abu Dhabi takeover.
“Within Liverpool, eyebrows are raised when stories emerge about fears of another attack on City’s bus as happened in the Champions League quarter-final in 2018, and there was incredulity at Guardiola’s comments about Sadio Mane’s diving .
“As Klopp suggested, it certainly feels like Guardiola talks about Liverpool more than Klopp does Manchester City , and City generally seem preoccupied with how Liverpool are portrayed in the media.”
However, Carragher added that while hierarchies and fans might dislike each other, there is nothing but respect between the players and coaches.
The likes of Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raheem Sterling and John Stones are international teammates with England, while there is a healthy Brazilian contingent across both clubs including Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus.
“These tensions have never been echoed by the managers or players, many of whom appear to be friends as they are international teammates,” continued Carragher.
“I do not recall any interview with Liverpool or City players speaking ill of their rivals, and the admiration between the coaches is obvious.”