Guardiola: Liverpool match not make or break for Manchester City

Manchester City's title aspirations do not rest on them picking up a victory at Liverpool next weekend, according to boss Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City's trip to Liverpool next weekend is not make or break for his side's Premier League title hopes.

The reigning champions head to Anfield sitting six points behind the pacesetters following dramatic comeback victories for both sides on Saturday.

City snatched a 2-1 win at home to Southampton thanks to a late Kyle Walker strike, while Liverpool left it even later to see off Aston Villa by the same scoreline.

However, Guardiola will not panic if his side fail to close the gap on Sunday, having made up a seven-point deficit in the second half of 2018-19 to pip Liverpool to top spot.

Asked if his side needed to end a 15-year wait for a league victory at Anfield to keep its title aspirations alive, Guardiola said: "We're going to try, but I don't think so. How many centuries have they not lost at Anfield?

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"We know what happened on Saturday beyond the result - they beat Aston Villa in the last minutes. There are a lot of games to play.

"Many things are going to happen and there are a lot of games to play."

City first travels to Italy for a Champions League group-stage meeting with Atalanta on Wednesday, 24 hours after Liverpool host Genk in the same competition.

Guardiola's side is top of Group C with a perfect record after three matches, but the Catalan coach intends to name his strongest starting line-up against Atalanta.

"We're going to play with the best team possible to win at Atalanta and after that we go to Anfield," he said.

"Nobody can assure me that if we don't do what we have to do at Atalanta, then we're going to make a better performance against Liverpool.

"The best way to face Atalanta is the way we played against Southampton, and the best way to go to Anfield is to play a good game against Atalanta, who have been fighting with the top clubs in Italy for the last two or three seasons.

"They can score four, five, six goals every game, so we're going to play with what we believe is the best team and try to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League."

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