Watching Manchester City and Liverpool’s uninspiring 1-1 draw, something struck me.
Both of these sides are a shadow of their former selves.
If I cast my mind back to the 2013-14 season, when City won the league with Manuel Pellegrini, it was also the year where Liverpool were their closest challengers.
The Reds’ attacking triumvirate of Sterling, Sturridge and Suarez were prolific, but the infamous Steven Gerrard ‘slip’ put paid to silverware arriving at Anfield.
The slip also did something else: effectively confirming Man City’s title victory.
VIDEO 🎥 | Watch all those breathtaking moments & chances that Liverpool had last night against Manchester City. [MB] pic.twitter.com/jALYNWZhbI
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) March 20, 2017
But regardless of who ended up winning the league, what’s clear is that neither side are anywhere near as good as they were that season.
Which, when you think about it, is pretty rubbish.
The summer following that season, Luis Suarez left for Barcelona and Liverpool didn’t invest his transfer fee wisely.
Similarly, City failed to invest in players able to have a significant impact at the Etihad.
The net result? Two teams who are mere shadows of their former glory.
— Premier League (@EnglishPremLge) March 20, 2017
They’ve both tried new fashionable managers to try and improve, but a cursory glance at the table shows us City in third and Liverpool in fourth (at the time of writing), 13 and 14 points shy off league leaders Chelsea respectively.
It’s just not good enough, not by any measure, and it’s an important reminder of the warning to ‘be careful what you wish for’.
By appointing Klopp, Liverpool will have been hoping the German would transform them as he did Dortmund.
By appointing Guardiola, City will have been hoping that the Spaniard would deliver a similar number of titles he managed to procure in Spain and Germany.
Both, so far, will have been disappointed.
Both have spent significant money – City, an astronomical amount – and yet neither side are any close than they were in 2014.
In fact, I’d argue that both have gone backwards.
Most draws at home in the Premier League this season:
Manchester United (7)
Manchester City (6)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 19, 2017
Klopp hasn’t even close to the football played by Brendan Rodgers’ side in their pomp, whilst City’s defence has become something of a public joke, with their attack faltering in recent weeks too.
The question is: will either manager pay for the way that they’ve taken their respective sides backwards, or will the boards remain patient? And if so, for how long? They’re not getting chump change for their efforts, and generally when you pay someone that much, you expect a return on that investment.
So far, that’s not happening.