Liverpool-Man City have become England’s ugliest rivalry

LONDON (AP) — As the Manchester City team bus left Anfield, a tee shot came.

An object, allegedly thrown by home fans after Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool, caused a small crack in the windscreen.

It is a rivalry that has turned sour, the most bitter in the Premier League.

City manager Pep Guardiola had already managed to avoid coins being thrown in his direction during the game. Liverpool, meanwhile, have condemned the behavior of away supporters after offensive chants about Hillsborough – the 1989 tragedy that left 97 of its supporters dead.

As fierce as the competition was on the pitch during a four-year period when the teams dominated English football, the feud has also died down. A person with knowledge of the bus incident said City would make a formal complaint to the English Football Association.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity as City have yet to comment publicly on the events surrounding the game. Pre-match comments from Liverpool coin thrower and manager Jurgen Klopp will also be included in the complaint, the person said.

“There are three clubs in world football who can do whatever they want financially,” Klopp said on Friday, an apparent reference to City, Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle, who are respectively backed by Abu Dhabi, the Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the clubs have been building for some time – dating back to before their recent battle for supremacy at the top of the Premier League.

Raheem Sterling’s transfer to City in 2015 marked a shift in the balance of power between one of European football’s traditional giants and their newly enriched rival, who was bought by the Abu Dhabi royals in 2008. As a result, the England striker was being heavily criticized for what was seen as a financially motivated move.

“Trophies are not handed out, you have to earn them,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said at the time. “You have to deliver in big games and he hasn’t done that yet.”

Sterling has won four Etihad Stadium titles and 10 major trophies.

But the rivalry really intensified when Klopp became the biggest threat to Guardiola’s dominance.

Liverpool beat City in three straight games in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign, which saw Guardiola’s side crowned champions with a record 100 points.

It was a notice of intent from Klopp, as Liverpool fans seemed determined to intimidate City, not only with the intimidating atmosphere inside Anfield, but also by attacking the visiting team’s bus before a Champions League quarter-final match.

The damage caused was so severe that a replacement bus was needed to bring the team back to Manchester.

The small crack left in the windshield on Sunday wasn’t quite as dramatic, but it was the latest incident involving two teams that set standards on the pitch that haven’t been matched by their fans off it.

Liverpool have said they want to work with City to stamp out ‘despicable chanting’.

“The Away Section lobby was also vandalized with graffiti of a similar nature,” Liverpool added in a statement after Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, Klopp, who was sent off for angrily charging out of his technical area to protest to the assistant referee, apologized for the coin toss.

“Horrible,” he said. “I’m sorry. This should never happen.

How the FA detaches a game that has been overshadowed by flashpoints off the pitch is not straightforward. It has limited jurisdiction over isolated incidents of objects being thrown from a crowd by individuals. And although he condemned the chants of City fans, he would normally only act on discrimination.

Klopp’s fate is also uncertain.

The Liverpool manager will not face an automatic suspension for his red card, the FA have said. The governing body will review the incident before deciding whether to issue a ban and/or fine. If his behavior is deemed serious enough, he could face a hearing and a potentially harsher sentence.

If the fallout from this latest gripping clash between City and Liverpool has shown anything, it’s that this rivalry isn’t going away anytime soon.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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James Robson is on https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson




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