Man City Whataboutery, a word that has grown like knotweed around popular discourse, is essentially the art of drawing false moral equivalence. One Northern Irish MP defined it, in 1982, as a macabre game of You are worse than us. All sides did it to each other during the Troubles, the Soviets did it to the Americans during the Cold War, and now, risibly, Pep Guardiola is doing it to defend Raheem Sterling after the wingers toe-tripping tumble against Shakhtar Donetsk.
Asked about quite possibly the worst Sterling fall since Black Wednesday, and whether his player should have let the referee know that it was never a penalty, Guardiola framed his specious answer around James Milner. Who else? Dredging…
Pep Guardiola is probably the best manager in world football now but all he can think about is Liverpool Football Club.
Yesterday in the Champions League, Raheem Sterling of Man City fell over the turf against Shaktar Donetsk and inadvertently won a penalty. The referee thought he was tackled illegally but he clearly just fell over.
The former Liverpool man did not correct the referee and instead allowed Gabriel Jesus to slot it away on the road to a 6-0 victory. It was a huge moment in the game and the chief point of controversy after the match.
Inevitably Guardiola was quizzed on the decision and Raheem Sterling’s choice not to admit there was no infringement from the Shaktar defender. This was his response:
Sorry. What now, Pep? This has nothing to do with that game. it isn’t even from this season. That is something that happened in April.
It is incredible how much space Liverpool take up in the minds of Man City, their manager, their players and their fans. The Reds have almost supplanted Manchester United as the number one rival for many of their fans.
This is a bizarre situation as City are coming off a record Premier League season as champions and are on course to better their total this year. Liverpool are only two points behind and went to the Champions League final but that is the limit of ‘success’ so far under Jurgen Klopp.
It makes no sense why they are so insecure about the Reds. The three victories against Gurdiola’s men in the first half of the year seem to have cause cracks in their confidence and psyche.
If Liverpool ever have to leave Anfield they know they can live rent free in Guardiola’s head!
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