Guardiola admits Klopp comments bother him

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says Jurgen Klopp’s insinuation the champions are spending their way to success “bothers” him.

Klopp’s Liverpool side meet City in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

In July, Klopp said Liverpool “were not in fantasia land” where they could buy who they wanted – unlike City, Paris St-Germain, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“Of course [Klopp’s suggestion] bothers me. It’s not true that we spent £200m every window,” said Guardiola.

“I don’t like it. Last summer we spent £17m on just one player.”

Sunday’s match is the renewal of a growing rivalry that produced one of the most compelling Premier League title battles last term, when City came from behind to beat Brighton on the final day of the season to reach 98 points, edging Liverpool, who finished on 97.

Since then, City have paid a club record £62.8m to Atletico Madrid for midfielder Rodri and £5.3m to bring defender Angelino back from PSV Eindhoven a year after selling him.

They also paid Colombus Crew about £7m for USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who has been loaned to German club Fortuna Düsseldorf.

In contrast, Liverpool have only spent £1.7m on Sepp van den Berg from Dutch club Zwolle.

Guardiola’s comments do require some context. Firstly, at no stage did Klopp mention a figure when he spoke to journalists on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

Secondly, City paid a club record £60m to sign Riyad Mahrez in July 2018. However, the net figure is reduced if sales such as goalkeeper Angus Gunn to Southampton for £13.5m and Brahim Diaz to Real Madrid for £22m are taken into account.

In that same season Liverpool spent £172m on four players six months after their £75m outlay on Virgil van Dijk, a world record fee for a defender at the time.

But the Reds’ net spend last term was £138m, and they made a £67.5m profit 12 months earlier largely because of the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

“We cannot spend £200m every season,” said Guardiola.

“Two seasons ago when we spent a lot it was because I took over a team with 10 or 11 players aged 30 or over. I had to do it.

“Liverpool spent more than £200m last season and can’t do it again this season so it’s the same. We bought one player Rodri this summer and paid the buyback clause for Angelino and that is the reality. So today clubs cannot spend every single season spending a lot of money.

“I’m not on the comments of other managers because they say what they want. Only I can say that is not true.”

-Report by BBC Sport

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