Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that he ‘doesn’t believe’ Jurgen Klopp’s assessment that Liverpool are not in a position to challenge for the Premier League title right now.
The Reds sit nine points behind City in the table, though they do have a game in hand over the league leaders.
Klopp revealed in midweek that he wasn’t sure if Liverpool would be able to do enough to cut that lead, but Guardiola wasn’t having any of it.
“I don’t believe him,” he said ahead of City’s game with Norwich this weekend. “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. But 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 champion again.
“Both teams have shown over the years that they can make an incredible run of victories in a row. If one team is able to do it, they can do it again. Both teams 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. This is the reality.
“The margin to Liverpool is nothing. We have to win a lot of games – a lot – with many points, more than 90 points, to arrive at 95 or 96, to be champions. I’m pretty sure of that, definitely.”
Guardiola went on to compare the domestic rivalry between City and Liverpool with tennis’ big three of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic competing to win championships.
“One day [the time] to win the Olympic 100 metres was 11 seconds, then 10 seconds and after, below 10 seconds. This is competition,” Guardiola added.
“Now Rafael Nadal has 21 grand slams. This is the standard. If they want to beat him, Federer and Djokovic have to win two grand slams more.
“Liverpool and ourselves, we helped the raise in standards for sure. When we were able to get 100 points and after 98, and after they did 99 – both teams have made the other teams see this is the level.”
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