Pep Guardiola responds to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s Man City claim: ‘I don’t believe him’

Pep Guardiola responded to Jurgen Klopp’s claim that Liverpool cannot catch Manchester City with a straight “I don’t believe him”.

The Liverpool manager laughed at an interviewer’s suggestion that the Anfield side were keeping pressure on the Blues, after they beat Leicester on Thursday night.

The German coach played down the narrowing of the gap at the top to nine points – and Liverpool’s game in hand – by saying: “I don’t think they smell our breath already, but we just try to win football games.

“I’m not sure we are in a position to get them on their toes, to be honest.”

City can open that gap back up to 12 points by winning at Norwich on Saturday night, as Liverpool face a trip to Burnley on Sunday.

But Guardiola takes Klopp’s dismissal of his side’s chances to catch City with a pinch of salt.

Asked what he thought of Klopp’s stance, Guardiola said: “Just I don’t believe him.

“Absolutely (it’s possible) and he thinks the same, otherwise he wouldn’t be the competitor that he is. Of course he believes.

“In football, everything can happen. He knows that he has to win a lot of games like we know we have to win a lot of games to fight to be champions again.”

Guardiola’s guardedness heading into a trip to face Norwich is heightened by the fact that the Canaries have taken seven of the last nine points available, and also won at EWolves in the FA Cup last week.

The City boss talked in his press conference now about how the old specter of “typical City” that haunted the club – the capacity for everything to go wrong – has been harnessed and turned into a positive.

There is no room for complacency, is his mantra.

“We can lose the league by losing against Brentford,” he said. “The same with Norwich. It doesn’t matter who you play, it is worth the same points.

“I think there are 14 games left and there are many points to play for. We have to win a lot of points.”

Guardiola also rubbished the idea that City are in a similar situation to 2017-18, when they led Manchester United by 12 points with 14 games to go – and stormed to 100 points, and a 19-point winning margin.

“The first title they (the players) did 100 points and the margin ahead was bigger,” he said. “If the margin was 16 points, I would tell you that we are closer. That it’s not done but closer. “Nine points and potentially six, if they (Liverpool) beat Leeds, is nothing. When you have 40 points to play it means there are many things can happen.”

That draws a sharper comparison with the following season, when City staged an astonishing run of 14 straight wins at the end of the season to overhaul the Merseysiders and then hold them at arm’s length in a breathless race for the finish, going right down until the final day of the season at Brighton.

Guardiola thinks that kind of race, with no let-ups, is the most likely scenario.

“Both teams have shown over the years that they can make an incredible run of victories in a row,” he said.

“If one team is able, they can. Both have the same managers, more or less the same squads and ideas. Both could make 16, 17 wins in a row. They can do it – we can do it too.

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“The opponents are so tough. We have to win the next game, next game – even after the cups, with the big problems.

“That is why the Premier League is the nicest title, because you have to fight an incredible amount of problems. The injury situations, bad runs, many things. It’s who is more consistent and these two teams are incredibly consistent.

“The run we’ve done over the last 14 games (13 wins, one draw) and we are just potentially six points ahead… it’s because the opponent is so good too.

“In normal circumstances an opponent would be ten or 12 points (behind) with the amount of games we’ve won. That is why it’s Norwich, the Champions League and then Spurs and Everton. We’ll see what our level is.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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