Building up to the big one as Manchester City face Liverpool

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: Faces huge task.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: Faces huge task.
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MANAGER Pep Guardiola insists his “extraordinary” and “exceptional” Manchester City side will not give up in their quest to defy the odds against Liverpool.

City host the Reds in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tonight needing to overhaul a 3-0 aggregate deficit following last week’s humbling at Anfield.

That loss on Merseyside was followed by a surprising Manchester derby capitulation, with the Premier League leaders surrendering a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Europa League champions United on Saturday, but Guardiola continues to back his players.

He said: “I know I will be judged on results, but the performances – my team is extraordinary. My team is not comparable to many others. It is top. My team is exceptional.

“I will be close to them no matter what happens here until the end of the season. It is a joy to be manager of that team, even two days ago, after the way we played. I am so delighted.

“Of course to go through (against Liverpool) you have to make almost the perfect game, to create a lot of chances, be clinical, concede few chances. And the chances we are going to (face), our goalkeeper needs to save them. All the conditions have to be perfect to go through.

“But we cannot forget it is a simple game – just focus on every single minute. That is the best way to play. If we concede a goal, don’t give up.”

Top scorer Sergio Aguero is set to make his first start for a month after returning from a knee injury in the latter stages on Saturday.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists Manchester City remain as dangerous as ever despite the worst week in Guardiola’s 18 months at the club.

Asked if he thought City were more vulnerable Klopp said: “No, I didn’t think anything like that.

“They had a fantastic season, but they are human beings. They had two results that maybe no one really expected.”

He added: “When we lost here 5-0 at the beginning of the season everybody saw the quality of City even when we were one man down; the preparation for the season, signings, the best coach in the world.

“It is clear they would be outstanding, but there is no perfect football team in the world.

“The game doesn’t give you the chance to be perfect.”