Guardiola puts pressure on Liverpool ahead of City clash with pre-match comments

Pep Guardiola has laid the gauntlet down to Liverpool – by insisting they are still the team to beat this season.

The Manchester City boss says that the Reds remain the Premier League title favourites.

Despite the crazy results at the start of the campaign, which include Liverpool losing 7-2 at Aston Villa, Guardiola is still fearful of their rivals from down the M62.

City host Liverpool on Sunday in a game which already looks crucial in the title race.

“They are the biggest favourite, but I think with what's happened with the pandemic, the situation is a bit different,” said Guardiola. “I see other teams who are strong.

“Leicester maintained the level from last season, apart from the last month-and-a-half of it when they dropped points, but now have incredibly solid results.

“Arsenal made a big step forward to be contenders. At Tottenham, Jose Mourinho has the team that he wants.

“Chelsea are so stable now, not conceding goals, scoring a lot and they have a huge squad for rotating top players.

“Manchester United, in this moment, are not [doing well] in terms of results, but we saw the quality they had last season.

“We suffered a lot in results against them and up front they are incredibly fast and clinical. They are top class. So I think this season, there will be a lot of teams being there.

“The last five to 10 games will be important, to arrive there to fight for the title.”

City's players will have to prepare to "suffer" for periods of the game against Liverpool on Sunday.

But Guardiola says that the road to victory will come if they are clinical and take their chances in front of goal.

“When you play against teams like Liverpool, you always have moments where you have to suffer,” said Guardiola. “They are an exceptional team.

“We know it, we have to do it and try to play to our strengths as much as possible. We know each other quite well, we played many times.

“There will be ups and downs, we have to be stable in the bad moments and in the good moments take our good chances and be clinical.”

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