EPL

Pep Guardiola embraces the challenge of ending Man City’s poor record at Anfield

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Pep Guardiola is ready for the challenge as he takes champions Manchester City to Liverpool for a crucial Premier League title showdown on Sunday.

City head to Merseyside trailing Jurgen Klopp’s side by a point for a match of huge significance at the top of the table.

Guardiola’s side go into the game as favourites to win the title for what would be a fourth successive season, and a sixth time in seven years, but their record at Anfield is poor.

City have won just once there in front of a crowd since 1981, and that was as long ago as 2003.

They did pull off a convincing 4-1 win three years ago but that was behind closed doors and the atmosphere will be considerably different this time.

“It’s the quality of their team,” said Guardiola when asked why City have struggled to win at the ground.

“The crowd too, of course, but especially the quality of the team. I think it will be nice because it always has been and we accept the challenge.”

Guardiola has tried to downplay the hype surrounding the fixture and refused to get drawn into the war of words that has erupted between some of the players in the build-up.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold this week claimed winning trophies means more to his club while City’s Erling Haaland and Ruben Dias responded by pointing out he could not know how it feels to win the treble.

Guardiola’s selection for the midweek Champions League stroll against FC Copenhagen, in which he made seven changes, suggested he had an eye on Anfield.

Yet he insists he did not turn his attention to Liverpool until after completing the job against the Danes, with City safely through to the quarter-finals for a seventh successive year.

Guardiola said: “Knowing we had three days until Sunday, we had time. I enjoyed the qualification for the Champions League and Thursday morning I started to think about Liverpool.

“We saw some details and the shape they attack is a little bit different from previous seasons, and the quality of some players and new players makes the game a little bit different.

“But the main patterns are the same. We know it quite well and I think they know us.

“There are just little details we have to adjust, for the quality of individual players they have.”

City are still without Jack Grealish due to a groin injury while Jeremy Doku, who missed the Copenhagen encounter, will be assessed.

Related items

  • Rangnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland Rangnick expects 'exceptional' Lewandowski to start for Poland

    Ralf Rangnick insisted Austria will not change their tactics for Robert Lewandowski having missed Poland's opening Euro 2024 fixture against the Netherlands. 

    The Barcelona striker, who is his nation's all-time top scorer with 82 goals, did not feature in their 2-1 defeat in Hamburg having picked up a thigh injury in a pre-tournament friendly against Turkiye. 

    Despite his absence, both Rangnick and captain Marcel Sabitzer are preparing for the game with the assumption he will be on the pitch for Michal Probierz's side on Friday.

    "It doesn't change our way of playing a lot, basically they will play the way they have been played. Lewandowski is the (main) player in Poland, everyone tries to pass to him, especially if they counter at speed," Rangnick told reporters.

    "In Munich, I had the joy of playing together with him for one year, therefore I know his qualities," Sabitzer added on facing his former team-mate.

    "I know he's an exceptional player but for us as a team, when it comes to tactics, nothing will change."

    Austria, meanwhile, started their Group D campaign with a narrow defeat to tournament favourites France, and know a victory is a must to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive. 

    "The team that wins tomorrow holds the good cards and has a good chance of going through to the next phase, so therefore it's a game you have to win, that's absolutely clear to us," Rangnick said.

    Sabitzer said his side was ready for the pressure that comes with a must-win game, saying: "We already said to each other that we want to win the match tomorrow, and Poland the same to each other internally.

    "I think if we change those things (from the France game) if we follow our principles and are intense, and if we bring all that on the pitch, then we have a good chance of winning tomorrow."

  • Saka insists there is more to come from England ahead of Denmark clash Saka insists there is more to come from England ahead of Denmark clash

    Bukayo Saka has said there is another level to come from England ahead of their Group C fixture against Denmark in Frankfurt. 

    The Three Lions started their Euro 2024 campaign with a 1-0 win over Serbia last Sunday, courtesy of Jude Bellingham's fourth international goal. 

    But England supporters were left wanting more from their side at full-time, with Serbia controlling the game after the break and possibly unfortunate to not steal a point. 

    Saka, who is featuring in his third major tournament for his country, played a huge role in Bellingham's opener, crossing the ball onto the head of the Real Madrid star.

    Alongside Phil Foden, Harry Kane and Bellingham, the Arsenal attacker is part of an exciting plethora of attacking options for Gareth Southgate at the tournament, but he believes there is room for improvement ahead of their game with Denmark. 

    "Yeah, a bit you could say that," Saka said if England's attacking display against Serbia was fluid. "You could say that for the goal, but I think there is a new level to come from us."

    The 22-year-old was part of the England side who reached the final at Euro 2020 and started the game against Denmark in the semi-finals, which the Three Lions won 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley. 

    "Denmark are a good team and provide a good challenge," Saka said. "We played them at the last Euros, and it went to extra-time, but we won in the end. 

    "That was a very special night, a very special night."

    England arrived in Germany as one of the favourites to win the competition after their displays at their last three major tournaments. 

    Saka has become a mainstay under Southgate's tenure at the helm, and he believes the current squad looking to end England's 58-year wait for an international trophy is the best it has been. 

    "I would like to say so. The experience also makes us better. A lot of us were there at that tournament and the World Cup as well. 

    "We learned things from playing together which makes us better, so I would say so."

  • Reggae Girl Jody Brown inks first professional contract with Portuguese club Benfica Reggae Girl Jody Brown inks first professional contract with Portuguese club Benfica

    Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz winger Jody Brown inked her first professional contract, having agreed to join Benfica of Portugal on a three year deal.

    The former Florida State University standout, officially announced her move on her social media on Thursday, as she expressed delight about her transition to the professional realm.

    "Becoming a professional players has been my dream since i started playing soccer as a kid in Jamaica, and I can't wait to win many titles with this club," Brown posted on her Instagram account.

    "I am proud and honoured to sign my first professional contract for such a big institution as Benfica. I would like to thank my family, MVA [Montverde Academy], FSU, Hue Menzies and everyone who helped me get to this point," she added.

    Brown, 22, has represented Jamaica at every level, including at two FIFA Women's World Cup tournaments and has scored 12 goals for Jamaica at the senior level.

    She recently assisted Florida State University to the NCAA Division 1 Women's Championship and their retention of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship title last season. Benfica are the current champions of Portugal and have also secured Champions League football for next season.

    More to come.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.