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'If we lost, it was over' - Guardiola hails Man City players for 'final' victory over Liverpool

23:03 GMT 03/01/2019
Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2018-19
The Spanish boss admitted that his club's title challenge could have come to an end on Thursday, but was thrilled with his players' performance

Pep Guardiola was full of praise for his team after Manchester City claimed a 2-1 win over Liverpool on Thursday in what the manager dubbed "a final".  

Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane scored stunning goals either side of a Roberto Firmino header to give City a win over the league leaders. 

The result cut Liverpool's lead over City to just four points, keeping the defending champions very much alive in the race for the Premier League title, and Guardiola was thrilled with his team after the fact.  

"I am proud of them, but not just today," he told BBC Sport. "We lost two games in four days but you can't forget what they have done for 16 months. We knew that it was a final today, if we lose it is almost over. 

"All credit to these incredible players. That is how we have to play in the Champions League. Both teams tried to search for each other, we were not scared, we had no fear and we had a lot of pressure. 

"They are leaders, it is four points but we have reduced the gap. We knew that if we won we would be in contention to fight for the Premier league, if we lose it is over." 

City now sit second in the league, two points clear of third-placed Tottenham and six in front of fourth-placed Chelsea.  

And Guardiola, who has claimed league titles in both Spain and Germany to go along with his Premier League triumph last season, says he cannot remember being in such a competitive battle.  

"I don't remember a league so tough, there are so many huge contenders fighting for the title. It is closer, every game is a final." 

Having now won their last two matches following a rough month in December, City return to action on Sunday with an FA Cup clash against Rotherham United, and the manager hopes his club can keep up the same spirit they showed on Thursday as they move forward in the season.  

"Winning is addictive, the taste of it," he said.  

"We spoke about that today. We said it was our final and we played like it - we were completely in, we competed... We lived the game like it was the last of our lives."