Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is making sure that his side is currently focused on Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash at Liverpool; and not the potentially Premier League title clinching Manchester Derby on Saturday.
While beating Manchester United at home for the title is the stuff that City fan dreams are made of, Liverpool are up next and they are the only side to beat them in league play this year.
Reds attacking players Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Golden Boot front-runner Mohamed Salah all scored in the Reds’ 4-3 win over City in January. It was a match that would have served as the perfect commercial for the Premier League, as it overflowed with excitement.
Expect Anfield to be rocking against Wednesday night. To get the result that they are looking for this time, Guardiola knows he needs to have an answer for the Reds “fab three.”
“Not just (Mo Salah), Mane and Firmino, all three, they are almost unstoppable. They are fantastic, fantastic players,” Guardiola said in his post victory news conference yesterday.
“The way Liverpool plays is so complicated for us. We know that. They are so quick, they are so good and it is tough, but it is quarterfinal of Champions League so we cannot expect, in that level, something is going to be easy.”
“We play against ourselves and say ‘that is the target, we have to overcome.’ We will be able or not able to overcome that. If we are able, okay, semifinals. If we are not able, congratulations Liverpool and next season we will be back stronger but we are going to try.”
Odds via Bet365 City 7/5 Liverpool 2/1 Draw 13/5
Like Guardiola discussing Liverpool, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had high praise for his midweek opponent, who believes are the favorites in this one.
“Did we think before the first game we would lose 5-0? No. Did we think before the second we would win 4-3? No. But do we know we have a chance? Yes,” Klopp said of the two meetings with City in his own post match news conference yesterday.
“Actually that was clear before, but they are the favorites.”
“We should finish the game with 11 first of all, that would be cool. We know it’s difficult. At specific moments we are on a similar level but they have been much more consistent and that’s why they are higher in the league. But we all know that in the game it doesn’t mean too much.
“We see our chance but we know it will be unbelievably difficult.”
“If I would have had the choice to watch a Champions League game I would watch this one. It is about tactics but there will be fire in the game, and it’s at Anfield so the atmosphere will be good.”
Both managers are currently extolling the virtues of the opposing side, ahead of what is sure to be an extremely fun to watch match. City and Liverpool are far and away the two highest scoring teams in England this season, so expect lots of fireworks in this one.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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