Pep Guardiola couldn’t keep his hands off Virgil Van Dijk after Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool

The top two teams delivered another classic Premier League encounter played at a blistering pace. It got tasty at times, but the rivalry is largely respectful and saw Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp warmly embrace at the full-time whistle.

Guardiola also had a chat with Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold during the game.

The Dutch defender was doing his TV interviews when Guardiola approached him.

Image: PA

The City boss held Van Dijk’s hand for a very long time and seemed to say: “You know what you’ve done!” to the former Southampton man.

In response, Van Dijk said: ‘I know, I’ll talk to him’ – although it’s unclear exactly what the pair were talking about.

There was a polite pat on the shoulder from Van Dijk before Guardiola playfully slapped the Liverpool No.4 on the arm and cleared him to speak to the media.

Guardiola was desperate to sign Van Dijk when he was at Southampton and a deal was reportedly agreed in 2017.

Image: PA
Image: PA

However, they were put off by the price and ended up signing Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for £57m.

Van Dijk would then sign for Liverpool in a £75m swap, becoming the world’s most expensive defender.

But he more than justified his price tag, helping the Reds to the Champions League, Premier League and Carabao Cup with a series of compelling displays.

And in July 2020, Van Dijk admitted Klopp was a key factor in his move to Anfield.

“When you compare clubs, you look at the history, the city, the current team, their plans for the near future.

“But the most important thing you look at is the manager – and Jurgen Klopp is a big reason why I chose Liverpool.

“Klopp has something special. Is it his energy? Is this its overall image?

“I sit sometimes and think about what he does and what he has more than the others.

“I think it’s his management of men. These days it is more important than anything in football.

“Klopp gives you this great feeling. He’s really happy when you walk into the club in the morning.”

After Sunday’s gem of a game, City remain top of the table a point clear in an incredibly competitive title race reminiscent of the 2018/19 season.

On that occasion, City edged Liverpool by a single point on the final day and won a second consecutive title.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.