It’s a phrase gleefully bandied about by Liverpool supporters in recent times.
And it’s one that evidence suggests is not completely without credence.
Suggestions theRedsare living rent-free in the heads of Manchester City andPep Guardiolawere given extra weight this week in the fall-out from the latest Christmas fixture furore.
City, not unreasonably, are somewhat miffed at having to play twice in less than 48 hours over the festive period, their home game against Sheffield United coming just two days after the December 27 trip to Wolverhampton
The situation is complicated by the fact Wolves have even less time to prepare for their next game – which happens to be at Liverpool.
The Reds, by comparison, have an almost leisurely three days between their two Chr istmas matches, although the 8pm kick-off for the trip to Leicester City on Boxing Day is an inconvenience for fans Liverpool are aiming to ease by putting on free coach travel in the absence of public transport.
“Maybe the broadcasters are fans for some clubs,” quipped Guardiola when asked about City’s calendar at his media conference ahead of Saturday evening’s trip to Crystal Palace.
He was joking. But, deep down, you know he meant it.
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And there’s little doubt regarding the identity of the club to which he was referring.
But there was something slightly more unsettling with the earlier reaction of Omar Berrada, City’s chief operating officer, during which he said “we need to make sure we protect the sporting integrity of the league”.
The inference was glaringly clear, City believing Liverpool are being given an unfair advantage.
Grumbles over lack of preparation time between games over the festive period are nothing new.Jurgen Kloppwas deeply unimpressed at Liverpool having a similarly quick turnaround in 2016, while several other clubs have had reason for complaint.
But the integrity of the competition wasn’t among the aspects any of them questioned.
For City, it is. Dangerous ground, for sure, far more than an understandable throwing of toys from the pram.
And it’s also a sign of how seriously they are taking the threat from Anfield as they chase a third successive Premier League crown in the knowledge small details are likely to make a big difference if the tight finale of last season is any barometer.
Guardiola has never been slow to comment on Liverpool, sometimes when not even asked.
“Congratulations Liverpool, you are the champions,” he jested after City lost to Norwich City earlier this season, while the recent shock home defeat to Wolves left him admitting it was perhaps time to banish the Reds from
“They don’t drop points for many reasons,” said Guardiola. “But it is better not to think about that.”
Easier said than done. But this goes back way further. Remember inside the dressing room at Everton last year, when cameras captured the talk was all of Liverpool?
And it isn’t just the manager, with summer signing Rodri this week declaring Liverpool as being “the best team in England and in Europe “.
Klopp and his players have taken a different tack.
Yes, at times during last season’s tense run-in, they couldn’t resist peeking at what was happening at the Etihad. That’s human nature.
More likely, though, has been a public declaration of not being particularly fussed about what Guardiola and his men are up to.
Indeed, only this week Virgil van Dijk declared: “I don’t watch Man City’s games but I have family and friends who text me or say something, especially after the Wolves game.”
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With 30 Premier League games remaining, there is a long, long way to go.
But that City are already being rattled underlines how Liverpool really are taking up residence in Etihad minds.
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