Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City host defending champions Liverpool with City having dropped seven points this season compared to Liverpool’s five. Liverpool were the runaway champions last season with Manchester city at a distant second. However, Pep feels it will be a much closer affair this season with many times in contention to win the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of the Liverpool game the Manchester City manger said “Liverpool are the biggest favourite but what happened this year with the pandemic is different. Other teams are really strong. Arsenal have made an incredibly big step forward. At Tottenham, Mourinho has got the team like he wants. Chelsea is now stable, they’re not conceding goals and have a huge squad. I think this season there will be a lot of teams there. The last five or 10 games will be important. The challenge then is to fight for the title and hopefully we can be there. Maybe we didn’t need 100 when we won. Apparently it doesn’t look like one team will make a lot of points but you never know. Anything can happen. We can only focus on ourselves.“
Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero who suffered a hamstring injury last month. Pep expects the game to be more open when compared to other opponents. The Spaniard added “When you play against teams like Liverpool you have to suffer in moments. We have to do that, we have to try to play to our strengths as much as possible. We know each other quite well, we play many times, I don’t expect us to be there 90 minutes, there will be up and downs, there will be chances and we have to be clinical. Both teams want to attack, both want to try it. In general we did good games, we were not ready for 90 minutes but in general our level was good“
Liverpool will be without their talisman defender Virgil van Dijk as he recovers from the ACL injury. Pep wished Van Dijk a speedy recovery and admitted he will miss the Dutch international. He added “I will miss him, I like to play with the best players on the pitch and Liverpool remains an incredibly top team because the structure is there, every player knows what they have to do and the result against Atalanta – we faced them last season and know how hard it is to beat them away – and they did it. Liverpool remains a top class team.“