Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he was shocked to find out about Manchester City’s two-season ban from European football.
The Premier League champions have been hit with the suspension from European competition by governing body UEFA after being found guilty of Financial Fair Play rule breaches.
The club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but, as things stand, City will play only in domestic football in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Klopp, whose side look set to succeed City as domestic champions this season, offered his support to his managerial counterpart.
The German said: “It was a shock when I heard it. I have no idea how these things work – what I can say is Manchester City under Pep Guardiola play sensational football. I’ve always admired what they do.
“In this moment I imagine it’s very hard for them.
“To be honest I feel for Pep and the players because, wow, they did, for sure, nothing wrong. They just played football and sensational football.
“Pep helped the league to improve football.”
Former City midfielder Joey Barton feels sad for English football that City will not be involved in the elite competition.
The Fleetwood manager said: “I don’t like the thought of seeing City not in the Champions League.
“They are one of the best sides in our country, so it’s a strange one because when that size of a club, with that level of a manager and players… you have to be in Europe’s major competition.
“For English football you want your best teams in that competition.”
City return to action on Wednesday when they play West Ham in a re-arranged Premier League fixture following Storm Ciara last weekend.
Guardiola‘s side sit 25 points behind league leaders Liverpool with a game in hand after the Reds beat Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road on Saturday.