Pep Guardiola believes it is inconceivable Jürgen Klopp has given up hope of catching Manchester City in the title race because the Liverpool manager is such a fierce competitor.
City lead the Merseyside club by nine points having played a game more and Guardiola said his team may need 96 points to retain the title – a figure Liverpool could reach only by winning all their remaining matches. After Liverpool beat Leicester on Thursday Klopp played down his side’s chance of catching City. Guardiola was told – wrongly – that the German had said it was impossible to overhaul the leaders and was asked for his response.
“Just I don’t believe him,” Guardiola said. “Absolutely [it’s possible] and he thinks the same, otherwise he wouldn’t be the competitor that he is. Of course he believes. In football, everything can happen. He knows that he has to win a lot of games, like we know we have to win a lot of games to fight to be champion again.
“Both teams have shown over the years that they can make an incredible run of victories in a row. Both have the same managers, more or less the same squads and ideas. Both could make 16, 17 wins in a row. They can do it – we can do it, too.
“The opponents are [always] so tough. We have to win the next game, next game. That is why the Premier League is the nicest title, because you have to fight against an incredible amount of problems. It’s who is more consistent and these two teams are incredibly consistent. The run we’ve done over the last 14 games [winning 13, drawing one] and we are just potentially six points ahead – it’s because the opponent is so good too. In normal circumstances an opponent would be 10 or 12 points [behind] with the amount of games we’ve won.”
City’s manager feels that his team’s greatest opponents are themselves. “We have to perform for ourselves as high as possible,” he said. “If the opponent is better we accept it. We face an opponent but this is not important – what’s important is ourselves.”