“He’s not ready, not yet.” – Pep Guardiola Press Conference Highlights – Premier League (vs Liverpool) | OneFootball

“He’s not ready, not yet.” – Pep Guardiola Press Conference Highlights – Premier League (vs Liverpool)

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City Xtra

A season definer is coming up. Manchester City welcome reigning champions Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday knowing a win puts them just two points behind the leaders with a game in hand.

Here’s all the key quotes from Guardiola’s pre match press conference…

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Sergio Agüero update

Pep Guardiola starts us off today with a major injury blow – Sergio Agüero wont be ready for the weekend. Images of the Argentine striker on the training pitch may have had Blues fans’ hopes up, but the boss says he will not play any part.

Guardiola previews Liverpool

It may be too early to call this a title decider, but it definitely is important in shaping Manchester City’s season. Pep Guardiola has compared the clash to the elections currently ongoing in the USA:

“It is an important game [vs Liverpool] but like presidential elections in the USA, all the votes must be counted. A lot of points to play for.”

“It’s always nice to play against the strongest teams and last year they [Liverpool] were stronger. They are an exceptional team, they have had the same manager for a long time and it is nice to face him all the time to improve our level.”

“Of course it is important but it is just the seventh game and there are a lot of points to play. We know we have to do a good performance to beat them [Liverpool] – we’ve won and lost in the past. We are going to do our best to beat them.”

City players relishing the short break

Since beating Olympiakos on Tuesday evening, Pep Guardiola allowed the players a few days off to rest and refresh. He feels this has had a massive impact and he can see that in the way they trained today:

“The difference is we have one game more to prepare, and we train as usual. Some ideas are on the table like every game and after we decide what is most comfortable for the players.”

“It was good for all of us, especially not coming here and staying with families, to be out of the training centre is good for the mind. Today they were ready and the day after hopefully too.”

The Etihad Liverpool’s toughest task?

Earlier this morning, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted travelling to the Etihad to face Manchester City was their toughest task of the season. When Pep was asked if he feels the same, he said:

“Absolutely. Not all the time but 95% of the time I agree with Jurgen.”

And on how Liverpool try to play when they arrive:

“When you play against teams like Liverpool you always have moments where you have to suffer. We know it, we have to do it and try to use our strength as much a possible. We know each other quite well.”

“I don’t expect a game like 90 minutes we will be there or they will be there. There will be ups and downs, we have to be stable and take our good chances and be clinical. Both teams want to attack, both teams want to try.”

Liverpool missing Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool will, of course, be without their main defender Virgil Van Dijk for the trip as he suffered an ACL injury in the Merseyside Derby two weeks ago. Pep Guardiola, who is all too familiar with knee injuries in his side, was very sympathetic about the situation:

“The most important thing is that the surgery was good and I hope he can recover as quickly as possible. I will miss him, I like to play with the best players on the pitch. Liverpool remains an incredibly top team.”

“The structure is there [for Liverpool], every player knows what they have to do and the result against Atalanta – we faced them last season and know how hard it is to beat them away – and they did it. Liverpool remains a top class team.”

The champions the team to beat

If Manchester City are going to have any chance of winning back their Premier League crown, Liverpool are a side Guardiola will feel he needs to take points off. When aksed if they’re the team to beat, he said:

“They [Liverpool] are the biggest favourite but with the pandemic it is a bit different. I see other teams strong; Leicester maintained the level from most of last season, Arsenal made a big step forward and Mourinho has the team he wants.”

“Chelsea is so stable and has a huge squad for rotating top players. United is not in terms of results but we saw the quality they had last season, we suffered a lot in results and up front they are incredibly fast and clinical.”

“I think this season will be a lot of teams being there, the last five to ten games will be important to arrive being there to fight for the title. Hopefully we can be there and arrive at the end with a chance to fight for the title.”

Smaller points tallies than previous seasons

Manchester City and Liverpool have set the bar very high. 100, 99, 98 and 97 points are just some of the points totals they’ve both achieved in the past three seasons. However, Guardiola feels City may not need that amount to take top spot this season:

“What is important is winning the title. It doesn’t matter how many points you get. I don’t know what is going to happen. It doesn’t look like a team will make a lot of points but you never know.”

“The teams I mentioned are all able to make a big run of wins so everything can happen. I have to focus on ourselves to improve the things we need and try to win games.”

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