Darwin Nunez had to be restrained by Jurgen Klopp from a post-match confrontation with Pep Guardiola after Liverpool’s 1-1 draw away to Manchester City.

The Uruguay striker headed straight for Guardiola immediately after the final whistle and uttered something that seemed to leave the City manager angry and bemused as Klopp, the Liverpool manager, acted as a peacemaker on the touchline.

Asked whether the reaction might be to do with the two clubs’ recent rivalry at the zenith of English football, Klopp replied: “It has nothing to do with a ‘fierce rivalry’, I don’t know what you are trying to make of that.

“It is not a fierce rivalry, it is just rivals. This situation after the game has nothing to do with a ‘historical, fierce rivalry’. I don’t think Darwin Nunez knows anything about that.

“It was just emotions. I am not sure I am the one who should explain it, to be honest. I was not the one involved — surprisingly. I love them both so I tried to calm the situation down without knowing 100 per cent what happened because I didn’t understand a word. Pep wants to win, we want to win.

Getty: Michael Regan
Getty: Michael Regan

Guardiola, who had been accused of goading Liverpool players with his goal celebrations during last season’s 4-1 home success, also played down the incident. “He [Klopp] is stronger than me,” Guardiola said in reference to the Liverpool manager holding back his player. “Nothing happened.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fizzing shot in the 80th minute cancelled out Erling Haaland’s 50th City goal and meant Guardiola’s side saw their 23-match winning streak at home in all competitions come to an end.

City did have a second goal ruled out when referee Chris Kavanagh judged Manuel Akanji to have fouled Alisson, the Liverpool goalkeeper, at a corner before Ruben Dias tapped home.

Guardiola questioned the decision by referencing Anthony Gordon’s controversial winner for Newcastle United against Arsenal earlier this month.

“I didn’t watch it [back] but I had five flash interviews and all of them asked me the same question,” he said. “So maybe you watched it better than me. After the Newcastle-Arsenal action, I don’t know. I didn’t watch it.”

Getty: Michael Regan
Getty: Michael Regan

The City manager still enthused about an “incredible” performance from his side but did have to gee-up the home crowd during the second half when City lost some of their momentum.

It was 12.30 [kick-off], we were still in the sheets, sleeping,” Guardiola admitted. “I like noise against Liverpool but it didn’t happen.

“When it doesn’t happen, you have to play better to make the crowd follow us. They [Liverpool] are happy, we are a little less happy, they are more happy but it’s football.”

'For us it passed a test'

Liverpool have only lost once in the league since their last visit to the Etihad Stadium in April — the controversial defeat away at Tottenham Hotspur in September — and Klopp believed his side passed an important test coming back to draw.

I am not silly,” he said. “If you ask who was more likely to win the game it was City, obviously. For us it passed a test. Last year we had a team that played long together and got completely under the wheels here [losing 4-1] and had no chance.

Today we had a chance. We want to be ready to give them a proper game. We did. [But] I saw a lot of performances I was not overly happy with. I take what we get and work from here.”

The visitors departed with Alisson and Diogo Jota nursing suspected hamstring injuries. “I hope it is not that serious but I have no clue what it is,” Klopp said of his goalkeeper. “He said he only felt a little bit but we have to wait for the scan.

VAVEL Logo
About the author