Pep Guardiola Says Manchester City Are Not 'Underdogs' for Liverpool Clash

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2019

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City reacts during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Atalanta and Manchester City at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 06, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said his team do not go to Anfield as "underdogs" ahead of their clash with Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

The sides will meet on Merseyside in a crucial game towards the summit of the table. Liverpool hold a six-point lead over their rivals, who sit in fourth and have won the title in the past two campaigns under Guardiola.

Given their success in recent years, the City manager has said his team shouldn't go into the match feeling like their chances of victory are slim, per Liam Grace of Sky Sports:

"The people outside the club, the people in the media they try to call us underdogs or not underdogs. I have never felt like this. Never.

"Of course, they are six points ahead and have played fantastic all season, but I'm not going to take a bus to Anfield thinking I am going to lose the game. I never have thought that in my career. Always I think of something special to do and we will have our chance to win.

"We know to win this game we must be at our top level. We need an incredible attention to detail. You must believe you can win the game, but we will see what will happens."

If City were to win, it would be an enormous result, especially given the key players they will have absent for the fixture. David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane are all out of the contest, while Guardiola recently said that goalkeeper Ederson will miss the encounter because of injury too.

As Sky Sports Football highlighted, Guardiola doesn't have a strong record against Sunday's opposite number, either:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

Jurgen Klopp has the slight advantage against Pep Guardiola 📺 Watch Super Sunday live on Sky Sports PL from 1pm

David Mooney of the Blue Moon podcast isn't confident about the champions' chances on Merseyside:

David Mooney @DavidMooney

I know the team City will play will still be very expensive. But paying a lot of money for players doesn't mean they're brilliant out of position/in that combination/at all. £17m on Bravo tells you that. City are still good enough to win. I just don't think they will.

Although City will still be able to field a side full of firepower at Anfield—Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne can hurt any defence in football—Liverpool feel a little more secure than the champions.

Jurgen Klopp's team may not be defending as well as they were last season, but they operate with an intensity that wears down opposition sides. It's meant that they have been able to turn a number of contests in their favour late in game, most recently against Aston Villa on Nov. 2, when they won 2-1 despite being 1-0 down in the 86th minute.

Given the quality they possess in attack through Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, the home crowd will no doubt fancy the Reds' chances. Their record at Anfield against City is exceptional too:

Premier League @premierleague

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 16 #PL matches against Man City at Anfield (11 wins, 5 draws) Will that run continue in #LIVMCI ❓ https://t.co/JGFPexdY9P

Despite Guardiola's bold comments and the six-point gap his team have to make up over Liverpool, you sense he would be pleased to head back to Manchester with a draw from Sunday's fixture.

If City were to fall nine points behind, it's difficult to see them clawing back that deficit given the vulnerabilities they have shown this season. That's not to mention the fact that Liverpool don't appear to be showing any signs of slowing down.


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