Pep Guardiola has described both Liverpool and Manchester City as “out of this world”.
The return of just two of the last nine points on offer from Liverpool has benefited City from forming a huge gap at the top of the Premier League.
With Guardiola’s side losing just 10 points in total in 21 games this season, a return from third-placed Liverpool or second-placed Chelsea seems unlikely.
However, City manager Guardiola has credited Jurgen Klopp’s Reds side for achieving something never seen before in the Premier League.
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“It was always Barcelona and Madrid (when I was coaching in Spain), and with Bayern (in Germany) it was Dortmund, and here, in recent years we have been Liverpool and ourselves,” Guardiola said when asked if he had played such a strong team. Title contenders before.
“Now this season it’s Chelsea (also). But I have to say it was just that way (Liverpool and City) because we were exceptional. It wasn’t because anyone was doing anything wrong.
“What we (Liverpool and City) have done in the last three or four years has never been seen in this country. Never. He needed 98 points to be champion when he was before 78, 80, 82.
“I think the other rivals, Chelsea, United, Tottenham, did a good job, but Liverpool and City were out of this world.”
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Guardiola, whose team could lead by 13 points with a home win against Chelsea on Saturday, continued, “And I am proud, after six seasons together, five years of success, in January we are still there, and in every game. You are still competing.”
“I repeat many times… What happens after I become champion, the season after champion in the last 10 seasons? Take a review.
“Next season, they’re dropping big, and we’re there, and that’s an incredible credit to these exceptional players.”
Liverpool are facing a difficult period as they navigate part of their title win without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, as the trio play away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Reds have also struggled with injuries and COVID concerns in recent weeks, which have somewhat hampered the momentum they built in the early months of the season.
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When asked how City managed to reap such a big lead at this point in the season, Guardiola said: “We are consistent – and that’s why. There are no secrets.
“But you ask me about Chelsea and Liverpool, my opinion of them has not changed. They are more than just excellent teams.
“If you told me a month ago that we would be 10 points away – or eight if Liverpool beat Leeds (their game postponed) – I would say impossible.
“Because I couldn’t expect them to drop points and I wasn’t expecting that because of the situation with so many problems we had a month ago.”