Just as they promised they would, Liverpool fans laid on an acrimonious welcome party for Man City ahead of the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield on Wednesday night.
Shrouded by squalls of red flare smoke, droves of supporters lined the streets outside the stadium to greet the City team bus, which was subsequently pelted and ravaged by a deluge of projectiles hurled by the baying crowd as the vehicle made its approach.
The travelling City contingent eventually made it into Anfield unscathed though that’s more than can be said for their poor bus, which was so badly damaged it had to be taken out of commission and a replacement sent from the Manchester depot for the return journey.
Manchester City team bus badly damaged by projectiles while makin its way through crowds to Anfield. Nobody hurt but bus has been rendered undriveable and a replacement sent. Liverpool expected to issue a statement apologising and have apologised at boardroom level #LFC #MCFC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) April 4, 2018
Liverpool formally apologised to their guests before kick-off, but that didn’t stop Pep Guardiola having a good old moan about it after the final whistle.
Indeed, after watching his side wilt amidst a voltaic atmosphere inside Anfield, the City manager partially blamed the pre-game hostilities for his side’s flaccid performance – grumbling that the police should have done more to contain the disruption.
Yesterday you explained it (the ‘welcome party’) is going to happen, and it happened. I didn’t expect that. I am new here.
Normally when the police know that is going to happen, they try to avoid it happening. I did not expect that from the Liverpool side, from the people.
One year ago, something happened in Dortmund. We come here to play football and I don’t understand this kind of situation.
The bus is destroyed. I didn’t expect that a club as prestigious as Liverpool would do these kind of things.
Of course, it is not Liverpool, it is the people – it was not only one, only two, only three.
Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
However, it would appear that Guardiola’s official party line didn’t reach Kevin De Bruyne before the midfielder delivered his post-match assessment.
A question about the hot reception was put to the Belgian, and his reply was undeniably that of a man who couldn’t care less:
No, it was okay. I don’t mind supporters doing that. I’ve had it before for my team. I think it’s a nice feeling.
Breaking windows is probably not done. But who am I to say something? I’m okay with it, as long as nobody’s hurt I’m fine.
No [it didn’t affect the players], it doesn’t change anything. As long as you keep the violence down there’s nothing wrong with it.
Then asked by a Belgian reporter if the atmosphere affected his performance on the pitch, De Bruyne responded:
Je m’en bats les couilles.
Which is a crude colloquialism that roughly translates as “I don’t give a sh*t”.
KDB, cold as ice and willing to sacrifice. You’ve got to love him. The man don’t give a f**k.
(Quotes via FourFourTwo)