Man City don't go to Liverpool as underdogs - Guardiola

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2019-20
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The Premier League champions head to Anfield for the top-of-the-table clash trailing the leaders by six points

Pep Guardiola may believe that Liverpool are “probably the strongest team in the world” but he says Manchester City don’t go to Anfield as underdogs.

City are six points behind the leaders and would face a huge test to catch the Champions League winners if that advantage increased to nine with a defeat on Sunday.

Their hopes were not helped when goalkeeper Ederson joined an injury list that includes Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko and David Silva, while Rodri faces a late fitness test.

But Guardiola insists he and his players will go to Liverpool believing they can slice the deficit to three points with a victory.

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“I’ve never gone into a game feeling like an outsider and feeling like I’m not going to win, I never felt that,” the City boss said.

“But, of course, they’re in a position six points ahead and they have been playing fantastic all season and we have many [injury] problems in some departments.

“But I’m not going to take the bus to Anfield on Sunday thinking I’m going to lose the game. That has never happened in my career.

“Always I had the feeling that if we do the special things we plan to do we will have our chance to win.”

Guardiola says City have to travel with belief or they have no chance of overcoming a side that have dropped just two points in the Premier League all season.

But he says his side know they have to put in the perfect performance if they are to claim a victory.

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“To win these kind of games you have to be at the top level, definitely,” he added.

“We can’t be half and half. The way they play they demand incredible attention in all the details for 95 minutes. We know that.

“But that is the point. I’m pretty sure that if there’s a chance to win at Anfield it’s when you believe you’re going to win the game. If you just think, ‘Let’s see what happens’, against that team there I think it’s not possible [to win].

“The only chance we have is if we play like we are and try to create chances to score goals. That’s the only way I believe we can do it, not just at Anfield but all the stadiums around the world.”

While Guardiola is confident, it would be understandable if his senior players were less optimistic.

Even the club’s long-serving players such as Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Silva have never won at Anfield with City’s one victory there in the Premier League era coming back in 2003.

In fact, that was City’s only win at the Merseyside club in the last 38 years and, while fans have few happy memories of visits there, Guardiola says such statistics won’t bother his players.

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“I don’t believe much in these sorts of things but 38 years for one time, it means how difficult it is at Anfield,” he said.

“But always you have a challenge, maybe it happens [on Sunday], it is done or, for next season, it goes on.

“Statistics are okay but it is a game, 94 minutes, 95, 96 and what you have to do to beat them.”