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Pep Guardiola just accidentally summed up the big difference between Liverpool and Man City



Liverpool and Man City have to operate differently in the transfer market. Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp summed it up nicely in their press conferences today.

It was not the best of weeks for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. Never before has one of Guardiola’s sides failed to win five league matches in a row but if they don’t win against Luton on Sunday, that first will come true.

So could there be changes in his side? New signings Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovačić were picked to come on as substitutes midweek but struggled against Aston Villa. Meanwhile, $57m (£45m/€52m) man Kalvin Phillips was completely overlooked.

“I don’t know what will happen to Kalvin Phillips,” Guardiola said during his press conference today ahead of facing Luton. “He has good character; I’m so sorry I have not picked him. I visualize my team and select a team and I struggle to see him.”

In that sense, then, it is hard to feel for the position that the Manchester City boss finds himself in. While he and his players might be in a mini-rut, Phillips was a player brought in for a big fee who has been completely wasted.

A little bit like spending $126m (£100m/€116m) on Jack Grealish, that feels a little bit underspoken about. Guardiola struggles to see a game in which Phillips could be selected.

Compare that to Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool. While the Reds have a lot more resources than most, there is also a lot more scrutiny placed on the deals that are done. If a $57m signing was left to rot and not given a chance, you suspect that would be bigger news.

Perhaps the closest thing to that at Anfield was Naby Keïta, but that was only through injuries. When he was fit, he was often selected. Klopp remained patient for a lot longer than many would have been.

Instead, every penny is scrutinized considerably more at Liverpool, where the margin for error is substantially smaller. Just today, for example, Klopp bemoaned the suggestion that a center-back might be required after Joël Matip’s ACL injury.

“I really don’t understand it,” he said during his pre-Crystal Palace press conference. “Just bringing in a player, finding the money for it — as if we have endless money — we always talk about it.”

It is one thing, of course, to spend money for the sake of it, and quite another to replace a player who is injured and out of contract at the end of the season anyway. Liverpool should certainly be looking to find another option with Matip set to be missing for so long.

But Guardiola’s purchase of Phillips looks increasingly like it fits into the former category: a signing for the sake of a signing. A year and a half on from Phillips leaving Leeds United, he, more than anyone, sums up the difference in resources between Liverpool and its Premier League title rival. The respective press conferences of Guardiola and Klopp today summed it up nicely.

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