Rodri and Pep Guardiola agree on Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp still has Premier League title edge

Rodri was highly influential as Man City beat Newcastle 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It leaves Liverpool just two points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side in the table.

Earlier this season, Liverpool came from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 2-1, despite being down to 10 men for around two-thirds of the game, thanks to a Darwin Núñez double off the bench.

It was a turnaround and a result that confirmed that Jürgen Klopp’s side was a serious outfit again after a summer of change.

Manchester City, inspired by Kevin De Bruyne coming from the sidelines to score and assist, have now completed their own comeback win on the same ground. That says more about the two title rivals than about Newcastle, though.

The run of form that Eddie Howe’s team has embarked on since collapsing against Liverpool, now with 10 Premier League defeats already this year, has made that result look less impressive than it should really be remembered as being. Newcastle, as they showed against Manchester City, can cause plenty of teams a problem, even if Pep Guardiola’s men still won.

Despite the victory, it was clear once more, though, that Manchester City have an issue dealing with transitions.

Despite the presence of Rodri at the base of midfield, the Etihad side have been caught out on several occasions this season in that manner. Anthony Gordon can offer a threat to anyone and did so again here.

Gordon and Alexander Isak proved too difficult for Manchester City’s defense to cope with at St James’ Park, with the pair both finding the back of the net after Bernardo Silva had opened the scoring.

Not every team has players of that quality in the final third, but there is a pattern there for teams to exploit against Guardiola.

Conceding twice in a game cannot happen too often for teams challenging for the title but Tottenham and Chelsea both had joy against Manchester City in the same manner and Michael Olise and Crystal Palace too.

Joško Gvardiol is yet to show why Manchester City needed to pay £77m to sign him and there are gaps to be exploited for the brave.

Erling Haaland is still to return of course and De Bruyne is not yet back at full tilt after being injured for several months, but the defense behind them — this time without Ederson, who went off with an early injury — has now conceded two or more goals on four separate occasions in the Premier League this season. Liverpool have done so three times but one of those was the Spurs match where VAR was the true game-changer.

Obviously, there is a long way to go in the Premier League title race and there could be many more twists and turns.

Manchester City showed here that they are not going anywhere and that will be a surprise to no one. There are 18 more games each for Liverpool and the Cityzens to play — but it is clear that they see one another as their biggest threat.

“If you ask me, our real contenders are Liverpool because they have the experience of winning in the last years,” Rodri told Manchester City’s official YouTube channel ahead of this weekend.

“Arsenal showed the level last year they can do and this year they have the experience they didn’t have last time.”

It is clear that Liverpool are on Rodri’s mind and his manager agrees.

“In the Premier League we have… a big rival,” Guardiola said (via Manchester World) last week.

“Liverpool are back… Arsenal, many good teams are there, Tottenham, it’s important to be there. But at the same time, we know we can’t drop points much or it will be difficult.”

Even without Manchester City dropping more points against Newcastle, there was hope to be found in the defensive gaps.

The gap to the Reds in the Premier League table — with both sides having played 20 games — is down to two points. There is a long way to go, but no reason that Liverpool, currently with a narrow two-point edge, cannot compete all the way.



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