Reds clash test of title pedigree: Pep

"If you want to win titles, you have to win this kind of games,"  Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola said.
"If you want to win titles, you have to win this kind of games," Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola said. PHOTO: REUTERS/USA TODAY SPORTS

LONDON • Pep Guardiola labelled Manchester City's trip to Anfield tomorrow as a must-win match in their bid to regain the Premier League title they last won in 2014.

His side boast a 15-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester United, but the City manager wants them to make another huge statement.

"If you want to win titles, you have to win this kind of games," the Spaniard told a press conference yesterday. "This season we have done that, but we still have to go to Anfield and to Tottenham.

"But Liverpool is such an important game, to realise again if we are able to do big things in this season, in important stages, in the Champions League. To see ourselves, when we arrive in Basel, knockout games - how is our behaviour? We did it in Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, and we'll see on Sunday how we do."

City skipper and centre-back Vincent Kompany is a doubt for the clash which should see Liverpool's Mohamed Salah test the visitors' backline.

The Egypt forward, with 23 goals for the Reds in all competitions, has recovered from the thigh strain that caused him to miss their past two matches.

He will be key as the hosts seek to make a statement of their own after City beat Liverpool 5-0 in the reverse fixture, when Sadio Mane was sent off in the first half.

"In a football way, I think we should try to clarify something," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told a press conference yesterday.

"They play a fantastic season, our season is not too bad but, in a game like this, you need to show that you can cause them problems, more problems than other teams can, make their life difficult and try to win.

"In sports, that's why you play twice against each other - sometimes you get an opportunity to put things right."

The German also challenged his men to "step up" following playmaker Philippe Coutinho's departure to Barcelona.

"We have to make the best of it. We still have fantastic players here," said the former Borussia Dortmund boss.

"We lost plenty of players at Dortmund. You always have to react. Use the past, don't suffer from it."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2018, with the headline 'Reds clash test of title pedigree: Pep'. Print Edition | Subscribe