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rebuild blueprint Jurgen Klopp just needs to look at Pep Guardiola to realise what can happen

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola has had a much bigger transfer pot than Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp

Man City boss Pep Guardiola has had a much bigger transfer pot than Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp

Man City boss Pep Guardiola has had a much bigger transfer pot than Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp

IF Jurgen Klopp needs a blueprint on how to bounce back from adversity, he should take a look at the work done by his old rival Pep Guardiola.

It might surprise you to read me praising the Manchester City manager, as I have been outspoken in my criticism of the method his club used to get to where they are now.

Yet this season has been a triumph for Guardiola and his Manchester City dream team.

Their class has shone through as they made it to their first ever Champions League final with a comprehensive win against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

Back in my days managing Tranmere at the start of this century, we played City when they were struggling to compete in the second tier of English football.

All that changed when their Abu Dhabi-based owners gave them an image-changing lottery win more than ten years ago.

Now Guardiola has built a team that looks ready to dominate in Europe for some time to come.

Money, money and more money has driven their rise from a lower tier team to what they are today, but I have to give Guardiola credit for bouncing back from the battering he was given by Klopp and Liverpool last season.

It was clear for some time before Liverpool took the Premier League title away from City that Guardiola and his players were rattled by opponents who were daring to stand up to them and, in the end, giving them a sound thrashing.

City lost so many games last season and it was all down to the pressure Liverpool applied on them, with Klopp piecing together a relentless winning run that broke their spirit.

I doubted whether Guardiola was the type of manager to bounce back from that kind of humbling.

Monster

As the truth is that he has won titles pretty easily everywhere he has been in his management career.

Yet he sat back last summer, assessed what was needed to get back to winning ways and has built a monster that is even more efficient than the team that collected 199 points over two seasons in the Premier League from August 2017 to May 2019.

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Guardiola has made plenty of mistakes with his defensive signings at City, but not with Ruben Dias.

The Portuguese centre-half has been a masterful addition and has had an impact on Guardiola’s side that could be compared to Virgil van Dijk’s arrival at Liverpool.

Now Guardiola has got the club to their first Champions League final, making best use of his squad and that means playing without a striker, as Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have been bit-part players in their success.

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Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Riyad Mahrez (above) is looking like a world-beater and in Kevin De Bruyne, they have a match-winner who has few peers in world football.

Raheem Sterling, who was City’s key man not so long ago, can’t even get into their team now.

Guardiola has also brilliantly developed the talents of English youngster Phil Foden, as he has pieced together a side that plays great football and has a wonderful winning mentality.

So I’d urge Klopp to look at what Guardiola has done and try to emulate it, as it has been clear for the last few months that the German’s Liverpool team is in need of a reboot of the ilk City had after their humbling last season.

I expect several players to leave Liverpool this summer and the club needs to be canny in the transfer market to get the right replacements in.

But the challenge before Klopp will be even more daunting than Guardiola’s last summer as he will not be working with a massive cash pot.

While Liverpool need to sell to buy new players, City can just keep on spending – and if they add two or three more top players this summer, it could put them further clear of the rivals.

So we may be about to witness a new era in European football, with the City v Chelsea final in the Champions League a sign of what is to come over the next few years.

The fact that these two sides will go head-to-head in Istanbul later this month shows that money is talking louder than ever in football and I see that continuing.

Pandemic

Indeed the handful of clubs backed by sugar daddy owners will hold all the aces as we hopefully come out of the Covid pandemic.

In a normal off-season, you would expect to see Real Madrid and Barcelona spend big money to sign new players, but that looks unlikely this summer as the clubs are struggling financially, both mired in debt.

The same may be true for other European giants like Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, as they all look like paupers compared to the clubs that have the big financial backers.

With City proving that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules lack bite, after they won their court case against a two-year ban from the Champions League last year, the path is clear for them to use their Abu Dhabi blank cheques to cement their dominance over the next few years.

The same can be said of Chelsea, with owner Roman Abramovich having enough cash to outbid his rivals for the best players and I expect both of these clubs to sign some top names this summer.

It explains why Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, with his club €1billion in debt, was so prominent in efforts to get the European Super League plan off the ground last month.

Perez and the owners at the traditional giants of European football can see their power is slipping away, as they can’t compete with the new money that has come into the game – especially at the English clubs that now have such a cash advantage.

We saw a Liverpool v Spurs final in the Champions League final in 2019 and now we have another all-English affair.

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Winning the Champions League again would offer another route back into Europe’s elite club competition (Peter Byrne/PA)

Winning the Champions League again would offer another route back into Europe’s elite club competition (Peter Byrne/PA)

Winning the Champions League again would offer another route back into Europe’s elite club competition (Peter Byrne/PA)

Unless the Spanish, Italian and German clubs find a way to get TV revenue up, either through doing a deal with UEFA over Champions League money or starting a breakaway Super League, their days at the top may be numbered.

Suddenly, two former minnows of English football are now the big fish and the path appears to be clear for them to get stronger and stronger.

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