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Get a grip Danny! Liverpool totally deserve guard of honour

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Jurgen Klopp will face a good test tonight against Manchester City even if the title is already decided

Jurgen Klopp will face a good test tonight against Manchester City even if the title is already decided

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Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

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Jurgen Klopp will face a good test tonight against Manchester City even if the title is already decided

The devious gene in me wanted to see Liverpool end their 30-year wait for a title triumph by beating the Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, but there is still plenty to look forward to as the Premier League's 'big two' lock horns.

Some of the sting has been taken out of this clash after Liverpool's title triumph was confirmed a week ago, with the first chapter of this game now focusing on City's players giving Liverpool a guard of honour as they enter the field.

I saw comments from ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy suggesting that he didn't think the new champions deserve that respect and claiming some of the City players were too good to degrade themselves by making such a gesture, but what on earth was he on about?

Danny is a decent pundit, but at a time when respect is sadly lacking in so many aspects of our lives, a guard of honour for a team that has just won the league is a tradition were should celebrate and I can't believe anyone would begrudge Liverpool this moment. Get a grip Danny!

The fact that it is City clapping the new champions onto the field will make it all the more sweet and once the pre-match pleasantries are out of the way, the best two teams in England can get down to business.

Sporting Feud

Liverpool and City have developed a big rivalry in the last few years, but it is a very much a sporting feud between two teams who do not have a long history of animosity that adds to the spice when teams like Manchester United or Everton are involved.

In my playing days, I used to enjoy playing City at Maine Road as the atmosphere was always decent and they were never very good!

Roll the clock forward to 2020 and City are a fantastic team, built with the spare change of their sugar daddy owner and bizarrely, the atmosphere their fans used to produce at their old home has been replaced by silence most weeks at the Etihad.

In fact, the fake crowd noise being used by TV companies to give games some atmosphere should be used permanently for Man City home games as it has to be one of the worst stadiums for atmosphere in the Premier League, but the action on the field should make up for all of that once again.

I'm really looking forward to a contest that will see two top-class teams trying to inflict a few early blows in what could be seen as the opening salvo of the 2020/21 Premier League season.

Manchester City and Liverpool should view this as a chance to unleash the shackles and put on a show that highlights the best of the Premier League and I'm fascinated to see how City manager Pep Guardiola goes into this game.

Liverpool have not come up against a Premier League team that has tried to attack them this season, with every opponent fearful of their threat Klopp's front three pose and deploying tactics designed solely to try and stop them.

Presumably, City can't play defensively when they are the home team and it should set us up for a fantastic match between two sides that score goals for fun.

City are a real threat going forward, but they have a big weak spot in the central defensive positions and that's the area Liverpool will target if Guardiola goes for broke and tries to attack this evening.

There is also no doubt that Liverpool have been worrying Pep for a long time, with the TV documentary that gave us a glimpse of life behind the scenes at City in the year they win the league and became the first side to collect 100 points including several references to Liverpool.

Guardiola clearly saw the threat coming up on his horizon and for the first time in a management career that has been a story of relentless winning with teams who have had all the advantages on their side, he has run into an opponent he cannot match.

Liverpool's 5-1 aggregate win against City in the Champions League quarter-final a couple of seasons back laid down a marker for what was to come and every time Liverpool have gone head-to-head with their biggest domestic rivals since then, they have had their measure.

Intensity

Now Liverpool get another chance to confirm their superiority against City and it is important for them to confirm they are not going to lose any of their intensity.

I'm sure the celebrations among the players were pretty lively as Liverpool's title win was confirmed last Thursday, but this will be the perfect game to refocus the mind as they try to finish the season on a high and set a few Premier League records that may never be beaten.

I'd love to see Liverpool get over 100 points to beat City's record from a couple of years back and they should also try and win every game at Anfield this season, culminating in the team being presented with the trophy in the final home game against Chelsea later this month.

Some of the gloss has been taken off the finale of this season due to the absence of fans in the stadium and the nightmare we have all lived through since March, but the champions still have some statements to make as they look to put the finishing touches to what has been a near-perfect season.