Former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt has said he finds the high levels reached by the Reds and Premier League title rivals Manchester City “amazing”.
Kuyt played for Liverpool between 2006 and 2012, winning the EFL Cup in his final season at Anfield.
However, having already secured the same trophy this season, Liverpool have three more titles in their sights as they look to complete an unprecedented quadruple.
Liverpool sealed a place in the FA Cup final against Chelsea after beating City 3-2 at Wembley last week, have a Champions League semi-final against Villarreal on the horizon, and sit just a point behind Pep Guardiola’s team in the race for the Premier League title.
Speaking to Stats Perform, Kuyt praised the levels of both title rivals, saying: “There’s something changing if you play an opponent more than two or three times in a season and that’s happening with Liverpool and City now.
“It’s very interesting because we have already seen two very good games between Liverpool and City. In my opinion, City was a little bit the better team in the Premier League match [a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium] but obviously in the FA Cup semi-final, Liverpool showed what they are capable of.
“It’s just amazing what a high level these kinds of games are because I didn’t see better games than the Liverpool and City games this season.”
4 – Since 2003-04 (when this data is available), the only four instances of a player completing 100+ passes in a @premierleague match against Manchester United have all occurred this season, with two of them being tonight (Thiago 105, Virgil Van Dijk 106). Shadows. pic.twitter.com/xddh5N5Bf8
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 19, 2022
The Dutchman scored 67 goals in 281 games for Liverpool in all competitions, and enjoyed a particularly strong record in Merseyside derbies, scoring five goals in 11 Premier League appearances against Everton.
Jurgen Klopp’s side entertain Everton on Sunday, with the Toffees in the midst of a relegation fight, and Kuyt says the derby is on the minds of people in the city.
“You can already feel it the week before,” he said. “So we are a couple of days before the derby game, and once I landed in Liverpool, when I came from Amsterdam this morning, people are already talking about the derby game and it’s massive for the city.
“You’ve got families, one is for Liverpool, the other one is for Everton. So yeah, it’s just a great game and a really important game.
“I used to play in these games. Thankfully, I won more than I lost but for Liverpool and the city, it’s very important. Liverpool will win again on Sunday.
“I was used to playing these kinds of games in Holland with Feyenoord and Ajax, and when I came to Liverpool, this game together with the Man United game was one of the most important games of the season. I loved these kinds of games the most when everyone is fully up for it, so I really enjoyed it and I was happy to score important goals.”
When asked for his favourite derby memory, Kuyt pointed to the game at Goodison Park in the 2007-08 season in which he scored two penalties, including one in second-half stoppage time to win it, though he was also perhaps fortunate to avoid a red card for a challenge on Phil Neville earlier in the contest.
“If I have to go back it’s when I scored two penalties, and one in [injury] time,” he said. “And somewhere in between I tried to kick somebody and thankfully I didn’t get a red card. [It was a] special game for me and to celebrate the winning goal in [injury] time with the fans was something I’ll never forget.”
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