MANCHESTER, January 4: Manchester City won a “final” according to manager Pep Guardiola to remain in the title race by inflicting Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat of the season with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad on Thursday.
City’s recent shock back-to-back defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester had allowed Liverpool to amass a commanding lead in their quest to win a first title since 1990.
But the champions now trail Jurgen Klopp’s men by just four points thanks to Leroy Sane’s winner 18 minutes from time after Roberto Firmino had cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s first-half opener for the hosts.
“It was a final for us, because losing today it was almost over,” said Guardiola.
“We are four points behind them and they are the leaders. We have to fight a lot, but this gives us a lot of confidence.”
“I am proud of them (the players), but not just today. We lost two games in four days but you can’t forget what they have done for 16 months.”
With no more league meetings between the sides to come, Liverpool’s destiny is still in their own hands, but they will now have the pressure of having a City side that romped to the title with a record 100 points last season on their tails.
“If somebody had told me after both games against Man City we would be 4 points up, I would have paid money,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (AFP)