Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said Liverpool might be the best team in the world ahead of their crucial clash in the Premier League on Thursday.
A hat-trick from Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino and solo efforts from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane helped Liverpool dismantle Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
Is Guardiola right about Liverpool? Four things to know…
1. Across Europe’s top five leagues right now, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, PSG and Juventus top their respective divisions.
2. In Europe’s top five leagues Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have dropped the fewest points (4), while Liverpool have dropped six.
3. PSG have scored the most goals so far (50) among the leaders of Europe’s top five leagues. Liverpool have scored 48.
4. Liverpool have conceded the fewest number of goals with eight.
5. Bookmakers have Man City as 18/5 favourites to win the Champions League, with Liverpool deemed fifth-most likely.
Man City went into Sunday’s game against Southampton on the south coast 10 points adrift of the Reds at the top of the table. But if they were feeling under pressure it didn’t show as they breezed past the Saints with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Following the game Guardiola was asked about Thursday’s crunch clash.
“The problem is the other team is fantastic,” Guardiola told BBC Sport.
“[Liverpool are] maybe the best team in Europe or the world right now and in top form.”
The last time Liverpool visited the Etihad they sent Guardiola’s men crashing out of the Champions League with a 1-2 victory after thrashing the Citizens 3-0 a week earlier.
However, the last time City hosted Jurgen Klopp’s men they pasted them 5-0. Both clubs have momentum behind them going into this game which could be instrumental in deciding who will ultimately lift the Premier League trophy this season.
League position means nothing to Klopp
Liverpool will go into Thursday’s clash a semi-comfortable seven points clear of their rivals in Manchester with the psychological advantage of being undefeated so far in the Premier League.
The Reds have also come out on top in two of the last three meetings between the clubs, but despite those mental advantages, Klopp insists they’re academic.
“I am not the smartest person in the world but I am not an idiot either,” he said, according to the Guardian.
“It does not matter how many points you are ahead in December. We might be nine points in front now but we have to go to Manchester City in five days.
“Talking about how many points you are in front at this stage is a game for supporters and journalists. We cannot play that game and we don’t.”