Manchester City will be sending Liverpool an honour guard at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday. But ex-Anfield midfielder Danny Murphy doesn’t like the tradition.
Jurgen Klopp’s side was declared the top team in England when City lost 2-1 last week at Chelsea. This result meant that they had an unattainable 23-point lead with seven remaining matches.
And City boss Pep Guardiola said his players are going to uphold the tradition of clapping the champions on to the pitch.
But Danny Murphy does not agree that Manchester City should give his former club Liverpool the distinction of being champions of the Premier League.
Even though the honour guard is usually a somewhat uncontroversial gesture of sportsmanship and goodwill in England, Murphy toldthat he didn’t think it would happen.
“It’s a perception of respect, ‘the right thing to do’, the message you’re trying to send to the football world that when somebody wins, that you show respect and grace,” the ex-England midfielder said.
“The fact City will be doing it on Thursday will show humility, saying ‘well done’ to Liverpool and appreciation for their quality. I think it’s a load of nonsense.
“I don’t know where it started and why it started, I would feel uncomfortable doing it. I’d do it because you have to do it, but I wouldn’t want to do it, because it’s not done with sincerity.
“If I was a Liverpool player and United won the league, you know they’re better than you, you respect that and you’re trying your best to be like them, so they know you respect them.
“The fans don’t want you to do it, the players don’t really want to do it, it’s all for effect and it doesn’t mean anything.”
The use of the honour guard has become much more fraught in Spain, especially when it comes to Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Murphy also believed that, despite the standard of a single person, namely Kevin De Bruyne, the collective gesture did not sit well with him.
The City midfielder has enjoyed a brilliant campaign and is putting him squarely in the race for end-of-season awards in double figures for goals and assists in the Premier League.
Murphy said: “Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder, probably, in the world.
“And he’s clapping his hands and giving a guard of honour to players who can’t even lace his boots.”