‘It’s impossible’ – Pep Guardiola has already pointed out where Liverpool transfer problem lies

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‘It’s impossible’ – Pep Guardiola has already pointed out where Liverpool transfer problem lies

Liverpool’s Premier League match against Manchester City on Sunday afternoon will have a different feel than in previous years.

As was the case during the 2018/19 season and last season, both teams went into these matchups fully aware that there was more at stake than just three points.

Simply put, the two clubs’ entire season hinged on achieving a result in order to avoid giving their rival an advantage in the race for first place.

This season, Liverpool appear to have been reduced to a fight for fourth place, and even if they win at Anfield, they will still be ten points behind the reigning champions.

Due to the Reds’ struggles this season, Jurgen Klopp’s men have accepted the role of facing the Sky Blues and appear to be in a season of transition.

Both Manchester City and Liverpool changed their approach this summer by signing a traditional number nine, signaling a shift away from using a false nine to lead the line, and were expected to take time to settle in Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.

There were reasons to be optimistic during the Community Shield in July, when the former struggled to make an impact and the latter shone, but Haaland has since dispelled any doubts about his ability to adapt to City’s style of play.

Aside from Nunez, the Reds’ transfer window was relatively quiet, with 19-year-old Calvin Ramsay and 20-year-old Fabio Carvalho representing the only two permanent arrivals.

In what has become something of a trend in recent years, Liverpool has relied on players who have been with the club for the majority of Klopp’s tenure rather than making wholesale changes.

After winning the Champions League in 2019, the only two players signed for a fee were Harvey Elliott and Sepp van den Berg.

Following Premier League triumph in 2020, a similar scenario played out. Ibrahima Konate was the only summer recruit prior to last season’s quadruple game.

Pep Guardiola, on the other hand, has not let City rest on their laurels, welcoming Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Manuel Akanji, and Sergio Gomez to the club on the back of their fourth league title in five years.

Replacing respected figures such as David Silva, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero, and Vincent Kompany has also been a smooth transition, while Liverpool may have relied on players remaining fit and trusting in youth to fill the void left by departing individuals.

Only two outfield players (Thiago and Luis Diaz) varied widely between the Liverpool squad that began the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid and the side chosen to face City in this season’s Community Shield.

In contrast, five of City’s final starting eleven for the 2018/19 season have left the club.

When asked by Rio Ferdinand last year how he motivates his players to continually compete for honours, Guardiola stated that seeking external solutions is crucial to maintaining the desire for silverware.

“You have to shake, you have to move. With the same guys, it is almost impossible. We change. After defeat and wins, we change. In the beginning you accept things but when you win, you accept less. The process of doing this is the most [difficult] but you have to do it. If you don’t, it’s impossible,” he told the former Manchester United defender.

“In England, talking about a dynasty is a big mistake. I remember when Liverpool destroyed the Premier League last season and everyone said ‘Come to dynasty for four or five years’. And when we won 100 points, I even said now is a dynasty for Man City. In other countries, yeah maybe, but in this country? I love that nothing is for granted. In two or three weeks, I said ‘Oh my god, next season’. Liverpool is back, United is stronger every season and Arsenal are making steps forward.”

Next summer could mark the beginning of a new cycle for Liverpool, who appear to be faced with the task of evolving at a similar rate to their closest competitors in order to avoid falling behind.

‘It’s impossible’ – Pep Guardiola has already pointed out where Liverpool transfer problem lies

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