Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed that Liverpool is still his team’s biggest challenger for the Premier League title. The Reds currently find themselves sitting 10th in the table, 14 points behind league-leading Arsenal.

Nevertheless, the Spaniard believes Liverpool “always have been, and always will be,” fighting for the trophy. Guardiola supports these claims by saying the Reds still have plenty of time to right their ship before the end of the current campaign.

“If we get this question with 10 games left, I would say Liverpool cannot catch Arsenal,” said Guardiola. “But with the World Cup, anything can happen.”

Essentially, the upcoming World Cup throws a wrench into the Premier League season. Normally held in the summer, when the season is completed, the tournament this year will be held in November and December in Qatar.

Pep identifies Liverpool as greatest title challenger

Speaking ahead of a matchup with Liverpool at the weekend, Guardiola also said that his rivals are too good to remain middle of the pack. “I know the quality they have,” continued the coach. “It has always been a tough game and I don’t expect anything else.”

“A few months ago Liverpool were competing for a prestigious situation in English football, four titles, they had more shots, possession, everything in the final and they lost.”

“This is the same team, same manager, things can happen. It’s part of the nature of the competition. I don’t look at good moments or bad moments, I analyze as a team always expecting the best of them.”

Liverpool has struggled to find their normal form so far this season. Although they have scored an ample amount of goals in Premier League play, the club’s defense has been uncharacteristically subpar. Goalkeeper Alisson has managed to keep just two clean sheets. The Reds have also allowed multiple goals in half of their league matches as well.

City face Liverpool on Sunday, October 16th at 11:30AM (ET) on the USA network.