“He grew up as a player at Liverpool, he has good memories of his career there. Of course Liverpool fans want him to play bad, and he doesn’t want to play bad, he wants to play good.”
Liverpool, over the first two months of the season at least, have emerged as the most potent challengers to City’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title won in such spectacular fashion last season.
And while Guardiola, diplomatically, name checked the division’s other leading sides, he did concede that he expected Jurgen Klopp’s team to be prime contenders in this season.
“Liverpool are a strong team but so are Chelsea, and Arsenal, Manchester United. Tottenham as well,” Guardiola said.
“But for us, for Manchester City, we want to defend our title, and they are contenders. Liverpool have started so well, they have the same points us, but we were expecting that all along.
“Liverpool were an excellent team last season and since then they have bought some more incredible players to fight against us.”