Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola spoke to the press ahead of his side’s visit to Liverpool at the end of the weekend. Though City has not had good luck at Anfield in recent times, the Spaniard is optimistic, and refuses to suggest that Liverpool are not the force they have been in recent seasons.
“We go there to win the game, not draw. We want to win the game.
“They are always a top team. They still have a top squad, they know the process, skills, methodology, they are aggressive.
“They will be more aggressive than ever; they rest after Brighton. They recover and will be ready.”
He refuses, too, to provide a soundbite about the swirling “rivalry” or “big game” debates, focusing instead on the wild swings of the league table this season.
“It’s not about how many years (since City’s last win at Anfield), or whatever — there are 38 Premier League games — this is one more.
“Not long ago we were twelfth in table and now we are first. I am not concerned more about the Liverpool game more than the rest.”
Doubling down on this later in his press conference, Guardiola would not single out Jürgen Klopp’s side as anything more than another team in the Premier League.
“It’s the same points as beating Sheffield United or Burnley. They didn’t give us five points for this game. It’s three points. It’s not a knockout.
“It’s three more points to play for.”
The Manchester City manager did note, however, that he does not count the Reds out of the title race as yet, instead believing that the top of the table remains wide open. Rather than pointing out a specific title rival, Guardiola cast a wide net.
“All of them [are title rivals], absolutely. A lot of points to play for.
“My experience in January is no team is off the race and no team already champions. This season, how many leaders in one single season.”
Manchester City come to Anfield on the back of winning 13 consecutive league games, though their last win at Anfield was in 2003. While they lack the backing of the home fans that are all the more important in games like these, the Reds will hope to stop Manchester City in their tracks.