Liverpool aren’t the small club fighting Manchester City’s seemingly endless wealth

While Manchester City are currently preparing to face FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie their Premier League clash with Liverpool looms in the background. Pep Guardiola’s side will travel to Anfield on Sunday to face Jurgen Klopp’s side in a top-of-table clash. The game will see two modern-day rivals renew hostilities in an eagerly anticipated encounter.

Manchester City’s spending power compared to Liverpool’s has always been a talking point ahead of the games between the two teams. Jurgen Klopp has pushed this narrative on multiple occasions in the build-up to previous meetings between the two clubs.

This time it is comments from Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold that have played into the narrative. In an interview with Four Four Two Alexander-Arnold commented on how City and Liverpool have built their squads. The England international said: “It’s tough. We’re up against a machine that’s built to win – that’s the simplest way to describe City and their organisation. Looking back on this era, although they’ve won more titles than us and have probably been more successful, our trophies will mean more to us and our fanbase because of the situations at both clubs, financially. How both clubs have built their teams and the manner in which we’ve done it, probably means more to our fans.”

The reality is very different to the perceived narrative

A deep dive into the way Manchester City and Liverpool have built their squads does highlight the spending power of both clubs. Money is a factor in both teams’ success. The way Liverpool’s squad is constructed is similar to the world champions. Manchester City may have more spending power than their rivals but it isn’t as pronounced as reported.

A look at the Liverpool squad shows just how much key pieces of their squad have cost. A brilliant article from Nestor Watach from showed that Liverpool’s squad this season cost £664 million to assemble. That places Jurgen Klopp’s side currently as the 6th most expensively assembled squad in the Premier League. They trail only Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United in that particular table.

There are bargain signings in the Liverpool squad. Andy Robertson and midfielder Wataru Endo have both been signed for relatively low transfer fees. That is a credit to Liverpool for acquiring two quality players for relatively low fees. Trent Alexander-Arnold has also risen through the youth ranks at Liverpool. But Manchester City have the same variety in their squad. Manuel Akanji was a bargain in the transfer market when City signed the defender from Borussia Dortmund. Phil Foden, Rico Lewis and Oscar Bobb have all come through the City academy system to earn places in Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad.

While Manchester City’s squad does have a plethora of expensive signings Jurgen Klopp’s side isn’t made up entirely of bargain-basement signings. Liverpool’s front five of Darwin Nunez, Mo Salah, Diego Jota, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo cost a combined £213 million. Factor in the £56 million paid for goalkeeper Alisson and the £75 million paid for Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s squad is built similarly to Manchester City’s. (Transfer figures sourced from

It may not be a popular narrative when the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City is discussed but the fact remains that both clubs have spent money to succeed. It’s the way of modern football that financial power has a big role to play in on-field success. Liverpool is no exception to this in a similar manner to Manchester City.

Money however is only a small part of Manchester City and Liverpool’s recent success. Both teams have exceptional managers and have teams that play in their manager’s image. Guardiola and Klopp have created teams that play dazzling football and fight until the end. While their clubs’ spending power helps assemble their squads it takes two exceptional managers to bring their vision to life.

Both club’s success means just as much to each set of supporters

Another interesting comment from Trent Alexander-Arnold was that Liverpool’s success means more to their fans due to how Liverpool has built their side.

As evidenced by the transfer fees paid by both team’s success the claim from Liverpool’s right-back doesn’t quite stack up. Both teams have earned their success on the pitch. How the two teams have built their teams isn’t poles apart as evidenced above. You won’t hear a Manchester City fan say their team’s trophies mean less than Liverpool’s or any other club’s success given how the City squad is built. Each trophy won by Manchester City is a special moment for the manager, players and fans. The same can be said for Liverpool and their success.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s comments have added an interesting layer to the build-up to Sunday’s epic clash between the two teams. It will no doubt be a talking point closer to kick-off on Sunday.

Tags Alisson Anfield Cody Gakpo Darwin Nunez Diego Jota English Premier League FC Copenhagen Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Luis Diaz Manchester City Mo Salah Pep Guardiola UEFA Champions League Virgil Van Dijk

1 Comment

  1. dumb article…….Net spend?
    In less time than klopp, pep has spent almost 3 times more, and that is despite Man City selling a number of players for large amounts!!!

    115 breaches in FFP? It is clear how man city got to top from state oil money, their fans and everyone else knows, so yes most regular people would think that even challenging such a club is a much higher achievement and has more meaning.

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