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Premier League leaving LaLiga in the shade


Liverpool and Manchester City's weekend clash has had a lot of attention in Spain, in no small part because we feel like we've had our thunder stolen. The postponement of Barcelona-Real Madrid (the other day I heard someone, I'm afraid I can't remember who, quip that Spaniards are getting more general elections than Clásicos at the moment), left the way clear for the Premier League to dominate the global limelight with its biggest game. Having had two all-English European finals last term, this was something it hadn't yet managed. What's more, it was a game that lived up to expectations. Quick, hard-fought, brimming with major stars and with controversy to boot, with Pep Guardiola deeply unhappy with VAR.

Premier League reclaiming centre stage

As you'll be aware, the game was won by Liverpool, who top the table under Jürgen Klopp, a charismatic coach who created a fine Borussia Dortmund side that was all too quickly picked apart, and who has already won the Champions League at the Anfield helm. His is a well thought-out brand of football played at a furious pace. Total football, in which the forward is the first line of defence and the defender is the first line of attack, just as Antonio Valencia wrote about in his fine book on the 1954 World Cup. Liverpool play at such speed, indeed, that it's tiring just to watch. They don't only run, though; they really play, too. After all, this is a side featuring Salah, Mané, Firmino, Van Dijk, the two full-backs... The list goes on.

Liverpool's players celebrate their opening goal in Sunday's Premier League win over Manchester City.
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Liverpool's players celebrate their opening goal in Sunday's Premier League win over Manchester City.Andrew PowellLiverpool FC via Getty Images

I've talked about it more than once in this column: the Premier League is reclaiming centre stage. It has more money and has broken free from the cycle of turning again and again to the same set of coaches preaching their dying ideas. Now, as Madrid and Barça focus too heavily on their recent past in their efforts to rebuild ("like someone who has dropped a coin in the dark and moves into the light to try and find it," ex-Madrid coach Jorge Valdano wrote in El País), and with Javier Tebas and Luis Rubiales too busy squabbling, the Premier League is powering on ahead. I don't think this Liverpool-City game was quite up there with some of the Clásicos of recent years, but I do think we're being left in the shade by the English league.