EPL

Liverpool can still win Premier League, insists Man City boss Guardiola

By Sports Desk February 13, 2021

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool can still retain their Premier League crown, despite Jurgen Klopp surrendering the title.

City are seven points clear atop the table, and 13 ahead of Liverpool, with a game in hand following Saturday's 3-0 win over Tottenham.

Liverpool manager Klopp admitted the titleholders cannot hope to go back-to-back this season after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Leicester City.

But Guardiola told reporters: "From what I saw, the way they played today against Leicester, of course we have to lose games but of course they can do it.

"It is the same Liverpool that I met in the last years but in the boxes they are not as clinical as they were before. The quality they played, to do what they've done against Leicester, that they've not been able to get past halfway.

"Football is boxes and sometimes you have that period where you have to create more to score and every time they arrive they score. Football is a mood, feeling, not tactics sometimes. Sometimes it leaves us.

"The quality of the team is still there. I don't think they drop the quality of press or play, they always create more than the opponent. I don't like to suffer against them but as a spectator, I always enjoy watching Liverpool."

City remain unbeaten in their last 23 matches in all competitions (W20 D3), conceding just six goals during this period – the Manchester giants have extended their record winning run for a top-flight side across all competitions to 16 matches.

Guardiola's City have not trailed for a single minute in any of their last 15 Premier League games, since a 2-0 loss to Tottenham in November.

In the league's history, only Arsenal have embarked on a longer run of successive games without going behind (a streak of 19 matches between December 1998 – May 1999).

City, meanwhile, are the first side to keep 14 clean sheets from their opening 23 Premier League games in a season since neighbours Manchester United (17) and Chelsea (14) in 2008-09.

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    City have taken more points against Arsenal (34) than any other opponent under Guardiola, followed by Burnley, West Ham (both 31), Leicester City and Watford (both 27).

    Reigning Premier League champions City have put together four runs of 12-plus victories in the competition in Guardiola's five-and-a-half-year tenure, the most recent of which came to an end with their draw against Southampton.

    The Citizens dropped points for the first time in 13 matches in a run stretching back to a 2-0 home loss against Crystal Palace on October 30, leaving them 12 points clear of second-placed Liverpool having played two games more.

    Kyle Walker-Peters fired Southampton into an early lead with a sensational outside-of-the-boot strike – just the third first-half goal City have conceded in the league this term – but the visitors hit back through Aymeric Laporte's header.

    Despite his side's losing run coming to an end, Guardiola was pleased with their display at St Mary's Stadium.

    "We played really well. Unfortunately, in the first half we conceded a goal, but I think this was one of our best performances of the season, by far," he told Sky Sports.

    "They were incredibly organised and this is one of the best performances we played against them. Yes, the result was not good, but in terms of performance and the way we played, it was excellent.

    "We played better than in the Arsenal game, when we won, and today we drew. Sometimes you deserve it and you don't win, but the way we played here was excellent.

    "Southampton are a really good team. They are organised, they play 4-4-2, long balls, good pace in counter-attack, good build up. But we were brilliant today.

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    Liverpool could move to within six points of City should they win their games in hand, while the sides still have to meet at the Etihad Stadium in April.

    "People will say the Premier League race is not over and that is good for this side," Guardiola added. "We have many tough games ahead of us, but we will try to behave until the end.

    "I would like to have a 40-point lead ahead of Liverpool, but that is not possible in January. I didn't expect to have this lead, but now we will rest and come back as best as possible."

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