Interviews

Vincent Kompany: "I tell you what: I want to beat Liverpool more than anyone else"

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Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has told FourFourTwo of his old team's modern rivalry with Liverpool – and how they won out in the end last season.

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Kompany, currently the player-manager of first club Anderlecht, famously scored the brilliant winner over Leicester in April which ultimately meant Manchester City beat Jurgen Klopp’s Reds to the title by 98 points to 97.

City won their last 14 matches of the Premier League season knowing that any slip-up would likely send the title to Liverpool, who ultimately ended up with a record points haul for a runner-up. 

In a first-person piece reflecting on that goal and more in the January 2020 issue of FourFourTwo magazine– out in all good shops on Tuesday – Kompany has described what it was like going toe-to-toe with the marauding Reds. 

“There was no margin for error,” Kompany tells FFT. “To win every game, and to have to win every game from January, is something really special. 

Liverpool were that good. They are that good. It’s not a historical rivalry like the one with Manchester United, but it’s a modern rivalry. 

“It’s about two clubs; two sets of players. They know that to win things, the other club must be beaten, and for that to happen you have to be at your very best.”

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Kompany left Pep Guardiola’s side in the summer shortly after that title win, bringing a 11-year spell in the blue half of Manchester to an end.

The 33-year-old revealed his admiration for the Reds – who are clear favourites for the Premier League title in 2019-20 – and gave advice to teams looking to beat Klopp’s side this season. 

“I watch Liverpool and see a team near perfection,” he said. “I have so much respect for them – for the club, its history and the manager – but I tell you what: I want to beat them more than anyone else. To do that, there’s no room for errors.

“If you want to do well against Liverpool, only extreme measures will give you a good result. But as soon as you start playing, the plans matter less and less. It’s about desire.”

When it comes to beating Liverpool, Kompany knows best: City’s former captain started the match which swung last season’s title race back in the Mancs' favour – January's 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

As the Belgian legend recalls: “For all of the talk, the meetings and the videos analysed, games like our 2-1 win against Liverpool at the Etihad come down to that desire. 

“I will never forget Fernandinho’s challenge in the first five minutes. And then Bernardo Silva made a tackle, and the tone was set. 

“That desire, that hunger from players – some who are used to making challenges, some less so – decided the game for us.”

Read the full interview with Vincent Kompany in the January 2020 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out in shops and available digitally from Tuesday, December 17. Our belting awards special features a return of our 100 Best Players in the World list, plus exclusive interviews with Megan Rapinoe, Brendan Rodgers, Santi Cazorla, Gilberto Silva, Teemu Pukki, Kleberson, Wesley and many more. We also find out how Lyon Feminin became the most dominant side in world football, remember a mad decade of fun and visit Japan to find out more about their very own Barcelona-lite, Vissel Kobe.

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