The Manchester City defender suffered a serious knee injury in a win over Brighton back in August, and he’s subsequently missed the last five months of action.
City are 13 points behind Liverpool and their defence has come under severe criticism in the absence of the France international, having conceded nearly twice as many goals as Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders.
But Guardiola sounded delighted with his team’s performance after Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score the only goal of the game in the 73rd minute.
“It’s a difficult place to come, they are so physical and they arrive with a lot of men in the last 18-yard box,” the City manager told BT Sport after the game.
“It was a solid performance, we only conceded two chances. In the first half the keeper made two incredible saves.
“We knew that Aymeric couldn’t play for 90 minutes, that’s why we played five at the back to protect him a little bit. He’s a crucial player for us, we’ve missed him, it’s good for us to have him back.
Aguero was brought on for Gabriel Jesus, who saw a penalty saved by Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson in goal for Chris Wilder’s Blades, while Laporte was withdrawn with 12 minutes to go.
“Sergio is on fire right now,” Guardiola added.
“Strikers need momentum. It’s good for us to have strikers in this form.
“I am so happy with the team. I know what it’s like to play here, it is a tough tough place. We controlled it well and in the end we created chances to win.”