Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Guardiola ´happier than ever´ with City ahead of Liverpool clash

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Oct 2021

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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.

The champions could go top of the table if they beat leaders Liverpool on Merseyside, where they won 4-1 last season to end a run of 17 away games without a league win over the Reds.

Guardiola feels his side, who trail the Reds by only a point after six games, are in great shape despite their setback in the French capital.

Asked about the importance of keeping pace with the leaders, the City boss said: “I never thought about this.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

The top six teams in the Premier League are separated by just a point and Guardiola believes City have plenty of competition in their battle to retain the title.

Asked if Liverpool are contenders along with Chelsea, the Spaniard said: “And United, no? Liverpool since I arrived here, the first year maybe not, after the year we won 100 points Liverpool always was there.

“Last season they had many problems in the same position. Otherwise it would have been different, and we were excellent again.

“The last four years all the time we were both there. It’s the biggest compliment both clubs were there. In the Premier League there are not just one, two, there are many teams who can fight for the league.”

Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko will miss the trip to Anfield, but Guardiola says the duo return from injury after the international break.

City will be looking to secure back-to-back league victories at Liverpool for the first time since January 1953 against a Reds side that are unbeaten in 16 top-flight matches.

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