Manchester City star Jack Grealish has responded after Jurgen Klopp claimed he ‘didn’t even know’ when the Citizens were playing amid the Premier League’s fierce title race.
Liverpool have won their last seven league matches to catch up on leaders City. Their blistering form meant the pressure was on when Pep Guardiola’s men hosted rivals Manchester United at the Etihad on Sunday.
But the reigning champions rose to the occasion, beating United 4-1 with an accomplished performance. The Player Ratings are available here.
Kevin de Bruyne ran the show, bagging goals in the fifth and 28th minute. Riyad Mahrez also found himself on the scoresheet twice.
United had drawn level through former City academy player Jadon Sancho, only to be blown away by the Citizens’ superior attacking talent.
The result continued City’s six-point lead on second-placed Liverpool, although the Reds do have a game in hand.
Prior to the Manchester derby, Klopp said: “No. It’s the truth, I wouldn’t even know when City is playing to be honest, we didn’t think about it for a second.
Klopp claim refuted by Jack Grealish
“We were completely here in preparation for this game. We have to win these days, especially this game we will see. If we do that and win football matches then we can put pressure on, without winning football games, no.
“I told your colleagues in the press conference yesterday, I really want to win this game today and if we lose this game everyone will be asking me ‘is the title race over?’
“Sometimes your job is really easy, we just have to throw everything we have in the next game and that’s West Ham.”
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However, England international Grealish doesn’t think that is the truth. During an interview with Sky Sports (via the Liverpool Echo), he revealed: “People say they don’t watch but you obviously do.
“You keep track on other teams around you. It gives us an extra bit of motivation.”
Guardiola explains tactical masterclass
After the comfortable win at home, Guardiola detailed how his men got around Ralf Rangnick’s ‘aggressive’ formation.
“It was excellent from the first minute,” he said. “We played really well and had to be patient in the first step.
“Ralf [Rangnick] tried to change the mentality for Man Utd to be more aggressive but we made space, especially in the second half, to play behind [Scott] McTominay and Fred.
“Football is emotions. It’s tactics, definitely, but it’s also emotions. Without the ball, we are a team with desire and passion to regain the ball from the first minute to the 90th.
“We also want the ball as much as possible and, especially, second half we used it very well.”
City are back in action on Wednesday, when they host Sporting in the Champions League. Their next league match is a trip to Crystal Palace on Monday March 14.
Liverpool, meanwhile, face Inter in the UCL on Tuesday evening before travelling to Brighton in the league on Saturday at 12:30.