Thursday, April 25, 2024

Pep Guardiola embraces the challenge of ending Man City’s poor record at Anfield

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Mar 2024

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Pep Guardiola is ready for the challenge as he takes champions Manchester City to Liverpool for a crucial Premier League title showdown on Sunday.

City head to Merseyside trailing Jurgen Klopp’s side by a point for a match of huge significance at the top of the table.

Guardiola’s side go into the game as favourites to win the title for what would be a fourth successive season, and a sixth time in seven years, but their record at Anfield is poor.

City have won just once there in front of a crowd since 1981, and that was as long ago as 2003.

They did pull off a convincing 4-1 win three years ago but that was behind closed doors and the atmosphere will be considerably different this time.

“It’s the quality of their team,” said Guardiola when asked why City have struggled to win at the ground.

“The crowd too, of course, but especially the quality of the team. I think it will be nice because it always has been and we accept the challenge.”

Guardiola has tried to downplay the hype surrounding the fixture and refused to get drawn into the war of words that has erupted between some of the players in the build-up.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold this week claimed winning trophies means more to his club while City’s Erling Haaland and Ruben Dias responded by pointing out he could not know how it feels to win the treble.

Guardiola’s selection for the midweek Champions League stroll against FC Copenhagen, in which he made seven changes, suggested he had an eye on Anfield.

Yet he insists he did not turn his attention to Liverpool until after completing the job against the Danes, with City safely through to the quarter-finals for a seventh successive year.

Guardiola said: “Knowing we had three days until Sunday, we had time. I enjoyed the qualification for the Champions League and Thursday morning I started to think about Liverpool.

“We saw some details and the shape they attack is a little bit different from previous seasons, and the quality of some players and new players makes the game a little bit different.

“But the main patterns are the same. We know it quite well and I think they know us.

“There are just little details we have to adjust, for the quality of individual players they have.”

City are still without Jack Grealish due to a groin injury while Jeremy Doku, who missed the Copenhagen encounter, will be assessed.

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