Guardiola hails ‘huge’ win as Man City rout Liverpool

Liverpool (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s stunning 4-1 win at Liverpool was a “huge” moment for the Premier League leaders as they put a massive dent in the champions’ bid to retain the title.

Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear of fourth-placed Liverpool after winning at Anfield for the first time since 2003.

City demolished Liverpool thanks to a brace from Ilkay Gundogan, after he missed a first half penalty, and strikes from Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.

Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s equaliser after Gundogan’s second half opener, but the troubled Reds were no match for slick City.

“Huge victory for us. Three more points at the end but I take into consideration the fact we won after we missed a penalty and conceded a goal. The way we reacted, that made the difference,” Guardiola said.

We played in the way you have to suffer here. We started really well. We cannot play like they play, we have to play in a slow rhythm. 

“Second half we adjusted our set up and the quality of the players did the rest.

“For many years we were not able to win here, hopefully next time we can do it with people inside. Anfield is so intimidating.”

– Fantastic Foden –

City hold a five-point lead over second placed Manchester United and have a game in hand on their local rivals as they eye a third title in four seasons.

They have won 14 successive games in all competitions to equal the record for an English top-flight club, set by Preston in 1892 and Arsenal in 1987.

Guardiola admitted beating Liverpool carried extra significance, but he refused to get carried away about their title charge.

“It’s an important win but it is February. Of course the gap to fifth is big right now and that means for the Champions League for next season is important but 10 (league) wins in a row in this period is something exceptional,” he said.

Foden was the star of the show for City as the England midfielder gave a coming of age performance.

“Phil Foden is a guy who keeps the ball really well, he arrives so aggressive,” Guardiola said. 

“The action for the second goal and the fourth goal, we know what a huge talent he is but he is still young and hopefully he can understand he can still improve.”

Foden, 20, said City have the destiny of the title in their hands.

“They made it so difficult for us but we showed courage to play our football. In the end it paid off,” Foden said.

“It gives us every chance to go on and win (the title), but the job isn’t done. 

“When you beat the champions everyone’s confidence goes sky high, so it can only help us.”

The only concern for Guardiola was City’s third penalty miss this season and he suggested keeper Ederson might take the next one.

“It’s a problem that we have. In important moments we cannot miss it, and it doesn’t matter the taker,” he said.

“Again, I’m going to think about Ederson, he might be the taker next time.”

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