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‘Man City will sign Koulibaly in bid to rein in Liverpool’ – Fowler expecting more ‘box office’ battles in Premier League

09:32 BST 29/06/2020
Kalidou Koulibaly Napoli 2019-20
The former frontman who represented City and the Reds in his playing days believes the last two champions of England will continue to trade blows

Manchester City’s bid to rein in Liverpool will see them make a move for Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly, claims Robbie Fowler, with more “box office” battles between the Premier League top two predicted.

After claiming back-to-back crowns, and a historic domestic treble, those at the Etihad Stadium have been knocked off their perch this season by the rejuvenated Reds.

Jurgen Klopp has seen records tumble in 2019-20 as his Liverpool side have swept aside all before them in the English top flight.

City can still end the campaign with three major honours to their name – with the Blues seeking to add Champions League and FA Cup honours to the Carabao Cup they have already claimed – but there is work for Pep Guardiola to do.

Fowler believes addressing obvious issues at centre-half will form part of that project, with Liverpool warned that their fiercest rivals of the modern era will come out swinging when heavyweight battles resume in 2020-21.

“City may have slipped slightly from their all-time great status of the past two seasons in the ­Premier League, but I’m convinced it won’t be for long,” Fowler, who represented City and Liverpool in his playing days, told The Mirror.

“By “not for long”, I mean not at all, because they’re rightful favourites to win the Champions League and FA Cup.

“I actually expect them to spend this summer now too, despite uncertainty around their potential European ban and the loss of revenue due to the pandemic. That, more than anything, is testimony to Liverpool’s greatness this season.

“I think a lot of clubs will have been panicked by Klopp’s dominance. You look at City’s transfer profiling and they have bought young players with ­potential for a few years now. Quality yes, but always younger, with room for ­development. But I can see them going out and buying Kalidou Koulibaly for big money, even though he’s almost 30.

“Central defence has been their weakness this season and they need to address it. I’m convinced they will address it. That will see them come back even stronger. That will see a challenge to ­Liverpool that the football world can ­relish. And I think it will take both of them beyond the rest.”

Fowler added: “We need box office. We need Ali v Frazier, Borg v McEnroe, Roy Keane v an empty room.

“Liverpool are box office. They have ­produced one of the greatest seasons in football history and I genuinely believe they can get better. They have a genius of a manager and an individual and team ethic that goes far beyond money and stardom.”