Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Guardiola states tactical advantage Liverpool hold over Man City; labels Reds ace an ‘exhibition’

Liverpool defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip

Pep Guardiola admitted Man City must simply accept Liverpool hold a distinct advantage heading into Sunday’s clash, and labelled a Reds star an “exhibition”.

All eyes will be on the Etihad on Sunday when Liverpool travel to take on Manchester City. The outcome could determine the destination of the Premier League trophy this season with the winner – if there is one – taking control of their destiny heading into the final stretch.

In the build-up, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was fulsome in his praise of his opposite number.

Indeed, Klopp labelled Guardiola the “best coach in the world”. Now, Guardiola has responded.

The Spaniard refuted Klopp’s claim, though thanked him all the same for the lofty praise.

“I didn’t make a manager to be the best,” said Guardiola (via the Manchester Evening News)

“I’m not. Thank you so much, but I’m not. I’d like to say I’m the best, but I’m not.”

When probed for his thoughts on Liverpool, Guardiola added: “I admire what they do, how good they are. I enjoy this challenge.

“The times we play against them, always are many decisions in the game. Many details in both sides. Both teams are good.

“We try to discover the weak points they have which are few. We’ll try to exploit it, try to be ourselves. We play already many times, not just Premier League, always was interesting games.”

Guardiola wary of Liverpool at corners

On the subject of how he expects the game to go, Guardiola admitted Liverpool will be difficult to contain on corners especially.

The Reds have been particularly deadly from corners this season and the two tallest outfield players on Sunday are likely to be centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.

What’s more, the dangerous deliveries of Trent Alexander-Arnold will be difficult to contend with, and Guardiola labelled the full-back an “exhibition”.

“We know we are going to defend parts and sit back,” added Guardiola.

“Not because we want but almost impossible for what they do. They make the pitch wider and higher, quality in the middle.

Salah strangely the odd one out at Liverpool ahead of Man City

Salah strangely the odd one out at Liverpool ahead of Man City

Mo Salah is struggling for Liverpool goals at present - unlike the rest of Jurgen Klopp’s attacking stars.

“Four, five years ago they were more direct, not too much between the lines. Now they have a good build up with Alisson, Matip, Thiago drops. Threats in behind, Alexander-Arnold is like an exhibition, deep runners in behind.

“Set pieces, every corner is a threat. The taker is good and the movement, of course they are there. That’s why both of us are there, it’s fascinating.

“To be champion again or fighting for it, really soon to be qualifying for the Champions League. We need the supporters in the bad moments and I’m sure the players will respond. They’re ready for the challenge of Liverpool.”

On the challenge of repelling Liverpool from corners specifically, Guardiola said: “I’m not in charge of set pieces. Carlos [Vicens] is in charge.

“Today we talk about what we do. Corners and takers are good and they are taller so they are a threat and we have to accept.”

Guardiola concluded he has a clean bill of health to choose from regarding his squad with the exception of Ruben Dias.

The defender’s absence could prove a big miss – especially from corners.