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Manchester City Runs Past Liverpool, but Premier League Race Ended Months Ago

  • July 03, 2020

The test, now, is how Guardiola resolves the issues that have beleaguered this campaign. He will look to recruit, of course, to fill the holes in his squad: across the defensive line, certainly; a replacement for Fernandinho in midfield; and another attacking option now that Sané is off to Bayern Munich.

The emergence of Phil Foden and Eric Garcia, both excellent Thursday, will help, but reimagining the squad is not as simple as it might have been. Guardiola’s contract expires after next season; he may be rebuilding in what proves to be his last year at the club.

It is also not a panacea. City’s problem is not simply a shortage of talent. In many ways, it is absurd to suggest this squad has any shortage of talent at all. It has been undone too often this season by individual mistakes for it to be a coincidence; that hints at an occasional drift in focus.

Too many of its closest rivals have found ways to survive City’s onslaughts, and there have been times when Guardiola’s team, for so long so smooth, so confident, so devastating, has seemed a little stale, as if it is going through the motions, playing less from memory and more by rote.

After four years, it may be that it is time not just for Guardiola to draft in fresh blood, but to conjure new ideas, too. Klopp is right, of course, that it is unthinkable that any team should be 20 points ahead of this Manchester City. Guardiola’s task is to make sure, this time next year, it seems impossible that it should ever have happened.

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