Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola praised Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side as the “best team I have ever faced at high pressing” after leading his side to an impressive 4-0 win over the champions of England. The Reds were crowned league champions last week, setting a record for the quickest Premier League title win in terms of games remaining with seven.
Klopp though had a clear message to Liverpool fans that they weren’t going to take their foot off the gas.
Liverpool had dropped just seven points all season before the game against City and Klopp clearly wanted to improve upon that record.
He named his strongest starting line-up to face Guardiola’s side, but there was a lack of intensity usually accustomed to Liverpool games over the past few years.
City took full advantage of some sloppy defensive play to take a 3-0 lead into the break.
An unavoidable own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it four and Liverpool were lucky to escape with just that after Riyad Mahrez had his late strike ruled out after VAR adjudged there to be a handball in the build-up.
For Liverpool, the result will be seen merely as a blip in what has been a historic campaign.
They ran City close last year but have blown Guardiola’s side away in the league this time around.
And Pep Guardiola couldn’t have been more pleased at the performance from his players in thrashing the Premier League champions.
“What can I say, we beat the champions, an extraordinary team and a good performance,” he said.
“I think the game was good, they are brave to play, we are brave to play.
“They had clear chances in the first minutes with Salah but after our first goal we make a good performance and could score more goals.
“My team I like every single game. We try to play football, we try to take risks because they are the best team I ever face in my life at high pressing.
“The way they use the mechanisms are incredible and how fast they are, how quick they play and we had the courage to play in the small spaces and we have the possibility to run and connect with Kevin [De Bruyne], Ras [Raheem Sterling] and Phil [Foden].
When asked whether the result helps them looking forward to the rest of the season, Pep Guardiola said: “Of course its important.
“Especially because they were in incredible focus. I saw the guard of honour, how they work inside, how focused they are, not even say thank you, just focus to the game.
“I know in the first minute how incredible focus they are champions of Europe and champions of the Premier League and thats why I give a lot of credit for our victory.
“I think they drank a lot of beers last week but they arrive here with no beers in their blood to play and compete against us and thats why I give a lot of credit for what we have done.
“And maybe it will help us for the game against Arsenal in semi-final of the FA Cup and the semi-finals with Madrid, and we have to continue that way to arrive in the best condition for those games. Weve won two titles and are on course for two more, we are going to try to finish in a good way.”