Pep Guardiola faced the media on Friday afternoon ahead of the huge clash against Liverpool on Sunday. The Blues are six points behind the current league leaders and could go within three points with victory at Anfield.
Here's the main talking points from the boss...
Ederson 'out' for Sunday
When Claudio Bravo came on in the second half of the game against Atalanta, every City fan feared Ederson would be missing for the Liverpool game. Today, Guardiola confirmed everyone's fears, that he will be missing when they travel to Merseyside:
"He’s not available. We have another top keeper. Bravo can do it too, we won the Carabao Cup thanks to him. He’s an exceptional goalkeeper, he played a lot of games for Chile.”
But the manager had a lot of praise for the man replacing him:
"Why shouldn’t I be confident in my players? I would not like to be a player if my manager doubts me. I see him every day in training and see how good a goalkeeper he is, we’re not going to lose because of Claudio...
The red card at Atalanta is because we lost the ball in a dangerous position. He won the Copa America, respect that guy, he’s an incredible goalkeeper.”
Guardiola on the 'coach welcome'
Before City's Champions League defeat to Liverpool in 2018, the clubs coach was bottled by sections of the home fans. With a similar incident being threatened, the manager hopes we don't see a repeat of those unsavoury scenes:
"No, hopefully it won’t happen again. The police knew it for the Champions League game and didn’t do anything. Hopefully it will be an incredible game and the same that happened two seasons ago won’t happen.”
Guardiola on Klopp and Liverpool
Guardiola, of course, had a lot of praise for Sundays opponents:
“Right now, Liverpool is the strongest team in the world - it’s 90 minutes and we will follow the plan."
And on his opposite number in the dugout:
“He’s done it in Dortmund and here, it’s easy to analyse how huge the impact has been. When he took over they weren’t a contender - in three or four years he built something marvellous to watch.”
Could the title race be over?
Guardiola was asked, with a risk of going nine points behind on Sunday, whether the title race is over. He replied:
“I don’t know, we have a lot of games still to play, we want to fight until the end on Sunday and in all the games we’re going to play.”
Do City tactical foul?
Similar to Wednesday, Guardiola was asked about managers comments across the Premier League which talk about tactical fouling:
“I said in Italy, no comment. I know what I said to my players about what we have to do.”
"He will die scoring goals"
If there was ever a big game player to step up on Sunday, it will be Sergio Agüero. Guardiola is more than aware of the qualities he possesses:
“He was born scoring goals and he will die scoring goals. He’s an exceptional player. He has different qualities to Gabriel."
Guardiola is also not concerned about Raheem Sterling's level of performance at Anfield; a ground in which he has 'struggled' in recent visits:
“If we play good as a team he will increase his own performance, we have to try to help him and all the other players.”
City at Anfield
In last years 0-0 draw at Anfield last season, City were accused of a defensive set-up and Guardiola was asked if he would do that again:
“Sometimes when the opponents are as good as Liverpool you have to adapt. I was more defensive with Bayern Munich when we went to Dortmund and won 3-0, that was incredibly defensive. The plan at Anfield wasn’t like this.”
And he thinks the stadium does play it's part:
“The stadium is a big influence, it speaks for itself, but it’s more the quality of the players. It’s the toughest stadium to go too. I love the atmosphere. I don’t like what happened outside the stadium, but inside it’s perfect..."
Follow us on Twitter for live updates: @city_xtra