Sun. Oct 25th, 2020

Guardiola not interested in Liverpool lead as focus turns to City challenges

2 min read

Pep Guardiola admits there is little point focusing on Liverpool any more.

Guardiola’s Manchester City have been unable to keep pace with the Reds in the Premier League this season.

The champions trail the leaders by 14 points, having played a game more, heading into Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have pulled well clear of Guardiola's City
Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have pulled well clear of Guardiola’s City (Peter Byrne/PA)

City boss Guardiola, who turns 49 on Saturday, has given up hope of catching the Merseysiders and now wants to focus on other targets, such as finishing in the top four and progressing in the Champions League.

The Catalan said: “They’ve won 20 of 21 games and they’d be leading all the leagues around the world.

“Being so far away means it’s not interesting to look at what Liverpool do.

“It would be nice to focus on Wilfried Zaha and Crystal Palace, and then Tuesday we have Sheffield United.

“It’s better to focus on what we can do for the rest of the season in the Premier League and other competitions.”

City had slipped to third in the table behind Leicester but regained second place by thrashing Aston Villa 6-1 last weekend. Guardiola wants to build momentum to ensure the title defence does not end with a whimper.

He said: “The target was to catch Leicester and we did it. Now it’s to maintain this position as far as possible and win our games.

“Always there is motivation to play good and improve. The team has shown this season we are still going to do it.

“We have been champions back to back and still we are (up) there. Yes we are far away but the opponent is exceptional.

“People said we cannot win the championship so we were not going to fight, but we didn’t do that. We are still there and that is an incredible compliment to the players. I am so proud of them.”

Aymeric Laporte was injured in August
Aymeric Laporte was injured in August (Nick Potts/PA)

City defender Aymeric Laporte, who has been out since August with a knee injury, is nearing a comeback after returning to training this month.

The club are not yet sure when he will be fit enough to play. The game against Palace and Tuesday’s trip to Sheffield United come too soon but he could be close by next week’s FA Cup clash with Fulham or the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United on January 29.

Guardiola said: “I expect the doctor to tell me when he’s ready. He is training but I still don’t have the all-clear for when he can play. When the doctor says I will take a look at which games he can play.”

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