Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola knows a lot. But one thing he has not yet succeeded in his career: a legendary catch-up in a European competition. As a coach of FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City, he has only once experienced a 0-3 deficit from the first leg to catch up. That was with Bayern in the 2015 semi-final against his former club Barcelona. The second leg ended with a win, but only with a 3: 2, the Bayern retired.
And yet: They trust Guardiola and his team to make up for the 3-0 deficit to Liverpool. Once before this season, Manchester City beat this opponent in the home stadium and won 5-0. In addition, the second duel between the blues from Manchester and the Reds from Liverpool in the championship was a crazy game. In January, Liverpool led 4: 1 until six minutes before the end and then had to tremble to a 4: 3 victory.
Liverpool is warned, and his coach Jürgen Klopp spoke of “working in hell” in Manchester. Manchester City is capable of scoring three or more goals. That’s what the designated English champions have proved this season quite often: twice against Liverpool, three against Arsenal, one against Tottenham Hotspur, one against Napoli.
There are so many examples that could give Manchester City hope. If only there were not the impressions of the last days. The 3-0 loss to Liverpool was followed by a 2-3 home defeat by Manchester United. A 2-0 break was converted to defeat in the second half within 15 minutes. Two goals conceded twice in three days. How come? “Maybe it’s my fault, I have to think about that,” Guardiola replied.
The coaching guru actually does a good job of thinking about it – not just for the second leg against Liverpool. Because it is a pattern recognizable, the phases of weakness reveals which teams attacked by Guardiola again and again. Manchester City conceded three goals in 19 minutes against Liverpool. With Bayern missed Guardiola the Champions League Final 2014, because in the second leg in Munich Real Madrid after 34 minutes 3: 0 led. A year later, FC Barcelona scored against Guardiolas Bayern in the semi-final first leg in the final quarter hour three goals.
Against Liverpool Guardiola and Manchester City must not only prevent such lows, they should achieve at least two goals, especially in quick succession, to keep the hope of a legendary football evening as long as possible alive.