Pep Guardiola is “happier than ever” with the way Manchester City are playing and says Liverpool are just one of “many” Premier League title contenders ahead of Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
City were beaten 2-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday following an impressive 1-0 win at Chelsea last weekend.
“I never thought about this,” the City boss said when asked about the importance of keeping pace with the leaders. “Ten games is so important to not be far away from the leader. The year we won the second league (title) in a row back-to-back (in 2018-19), we were seven points behind Liverpool in January and we won the league.
“I’m not going to make a step back the way we’re thinking, just improve is what we have to do. We can be better in some departments. In general, (with) the team I am more happy than ever the way we behave and play. We played in Chelsea as a great team, a real team. This is what I like. We are trying, this is my job.
“I start to see the table after 10-15 fixtures. Now to be one point ahead or down is not important. it’s the way we play.”
Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, hailed City as Europe’s best side.
“City are for me the best team in Europe at the moment,” Klopp told reporters. “Last weekend they played Chelsea and they are good but City were clearly better that day. That’s the team we face.
“We have a positive view but we know we haven’t played City yet. We’ll use the Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain games. This is a special game.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liverpool – Mohamed Salah
Salah has been directly involved in six goals in his five appearances against City at Anfield in all competitions, scoring four and assisting two.
Manchester City – Phil Foden
Foden was magnificent in City’s dominant 4-1 win at Anfield last season, scoring a quite sensational goal from a tight angle. He is back from injury and looks sharp – he is sure to be a real threat.
KEY OPTA FACTS
Raheem Sterling has scored in two of his last three Premier League games against Liverpool, having failed to find the net in his first eight against his former side. Sterling could become just the second player to score in consecutive Premier League games at Anfield having previously played for the Reds in the competition, after Nicolas Anelka in 2003 and 2004.
Five of Diogo Jota’s 12 Premier League goals for Liverpool have been headers (42 per cent) – it’s the highest ratio of headed goals of any non-defender for the Reds in the competition’s history (minimum 10 goals scored).
Guardiola has lost more games against Klopp in all competitions than he has against any opposing manager in his career (eight). Meanwhile, of sides he’s faced at least 10 times in all competitions, Guardiola’s lowest win rate is against Liverpool (30.8 per cent – W4 D4 L5).
Liverpool have won just one of their last seven Premier League games against reigning champions (D2 L4), beating City 3-1 at home in their own title winning campaign of 2019-20.
Liverpool are the only side still unbeaten in the Premier League this season (W4 D2), while the Reds have also netted more goals than any other side this term (15). However, City have conceded the fewest goals so far in 2021-22 (one), keeping a clean sheet in each of their last five games.