‘We are never underdogs’: Pep Guardiola undaunted by crucial trip to Liverpool | Football


Pep Guardiola has described Liverpool as probably the strongest team in the world at the moment but dismissed the idea that his Manchester City champions will travel to Anfield as underdogs.

“I’ve never gone into a game feeling like an outsider or an underdog, thinking I am not going to win,” the City manager said. “I am not going to take the bus to Liverpool thinking I am going to lose the game. That has never happened in my career.

“Always I try to believe that, if we do the special things we plan to do, we will have our chance to win but I do accept that to win these type of games we will have to be at the top level. Definitely. We can’t be half and half at Anfield because the way they play demands incredible attention in all the details for the whole 95 minutes.”

Guardiola makes no secret of his admiration for Jürgen Klopp and the transformation he has achieved in four years on Merseyside. “They are six points ahead of us and playing fantastic all season,” he said. “Klopp has made them real contenders, they are marvellous to watch. Liverpool have a lot of strong points, they are good at making them count and it is difficult to find any weaknesses, though of course we have to try.”

Despite what happened to the City team coach as it approached Anfield for a Champions League tie two seasons ago, and concern that something similar might take place this time with irresponsible calls to arms circulating on social media, Guardiola is a fan of the atmosphere at Liverpool once inside the stadium. “That’s what makes it such a tough place to go, it’s special, I love it,” he said.

With his Barcelona background Guardiola is no stranger to keen rivalries and hostile atmospheres but thinks City’s engrossing battle for supremacy with Liverpool is what is capturing the world’s imagination at the moment. “These two teams have been amazing for two seasons,” he said. “Both have been incredibly consistent for 24 months.”

The stat more often mentioned, however, is that City have won only once at Anfield in 38 years. Their last victory in the league came under Kevin Keegan in 2003, which means that six subsequent managers and players as illustrious and long-serving as Sergio Agüero and David Silva have yet to experience winning at the stadium. Guardiola is not too daunted, however. “It is never easy to win against a good team on a big stage,” he said. “Everyone knows how hard it is to win away at Camp Nou or Madrid or Juventus, and at present Liverpool is probably an even tougher place to go. But I also know that last season we had a great chance to win, when we missed a last-minute penalty. So sometimes it can happen.”

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.


Source link

England 1-2 Germany: Phil Neville says Lionesses’ form is ‘totally unacceptable’

The Best Laptops of 2019: XPS, Surface, MacBook, Razer, and More