Liverpool and Manchester City are once again in contention for the Premier League title, with Pep Guardiola previously offering his views on domestic success versus Champions League glory
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Southampton will have a say in the Premier League title race this season and could yet crown Manchester City champions on Tuesday night.
The Saints host Liverpool, who are currently four points behind Pep Guardiola’s side with two games to go. A victory on the south coast would narrow the gap to a point before the final round but Liverpool did not progress in that game last season, losing 1-0 to a goal by Danny Ings.
Southampton have twice taken points from City this season, securing a goalless draw at the Etihad before beating the champions 1-1 at St Mary’s in January. Liverpool beat the Saints at Anfield in November and need to win on Tuesday to stay in title contention and keep their quadruple hopes alive.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is the man trying to secure a win against the Reds, who have only lost twice in the league this season. Jurgen Klopp is currently preparing for three games in less than two weeks, culminating in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28.
The German has won a Premier League title and a Champions League title during his tenure. He has watched Pep Guardiola win three leagues that could soon become four while continuing to elude Europe’s top prize. However, Hasenhuttl believes City’s national dominance trumps any continental triumph.
“That’s still the most countable title for everyone because it’s the hardest to get,” he said. “For me it’s even harder to be consistently at the top for 38 games in the Premier League than sometimes to win the Champions League.”
Guardiola’s failure to conquer the Champions League is often used as a stick to beat him. His latest setback came in Madrid when Los Blancos produced a late show to prevail against the English side. Guardiola also missed the Champions League during his time at Bayern Munich.
In 2018, City were on course to win their first Premier League under the Catalans but they had failed in Europe from Liverpool. However, Guardiola made his views clear. In his opinion, while the Champions League had more prestige, the domestic title was far more challenging.
He said: “You know absolutely nothing about football. The Champions League consists of seven games, you can win the Champions League, but the league takes place every three days in the same month. I’m sorry, but it’s much more important what these guys have been doing all season.”
Guardiola’s side have scored at least 86 points in their three title-winning years and have done so again this season. City’s frustration in Europe has been compounded by Liverpool’s success in 2019, which could be added to this season. Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was keen to highlight his side’s exploits despite their trophy tally being surpassed by City’s.
He said this season: “I don’t do digs but you look at the amazing Man City team and they couldn’t win the Champions League. They won a couple of prems but couldn’t win the Champions League. We’ve won both in recent years and it shows that we can do it in both competitions.”
Is the Premier League tougher?
Manchester will say yes, Liverpool will say no. Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports: “For me, the Champions League is always the biggest trophy you can win.” Then he added: “How many leagues are there in Europe? 30 or 40. The big five leagues say so five teams will win the league, but only one can win the Champions League.”
The clubs often see the requirements of the respective competitions before deciding which one to target. This is borne out by the fact that six of the last ten winners in the year they were crowned European champions were not at the top of their league.
Liverpool is one of them and finished second in 2019. They lost just once in the Premier League that year but still didn’t accumulate enough points to topple City. In Europe, meanwhile, they lost four of their 13 games and still clinched victory in the final.
Real Madrid celebrated four wins in five years, but only once did they win LaLiga. On the other three occasions they were beaten by Atletico Madrid or Barcelona. Chelsea, the current champions, have won the Champions League twice in a decade. Their first triumph in 2012 earned them sixth place in the Premier League. Last season, when they beat Manchester City in the final, they finished fourth.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/guardiola-klopp-premier-league-hasenhuttl-26979504 Ralph Hasenhuttl's view of the Premier League supports Pep Guardiola's exploits over Jurgen Klopp