Jürgen Klopp says Manchester City still the best team in the world

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Manchester City lost significant ground on Premier League leaders Liverpool FC in December following defeats by Crystal Palace and Leicester City over the festive schedule. Pep Guardiola should not risk doing that. The Reds boast the best defence in the Premier League, conceding just eight goals in their first 20 games - a league record for this stage of the season.

Having just said that Guardiola won't adapt for two games a season, he might well just do it for this one.

He goes on to add, "You have to accept it". I have the feeling we can beat everybody, but everybody can beat us.

Jurgen Klopp is without the injured Joe Gomez, who would have made my combined XI alongside Virgil van Dijk if fit, so that is a small boost for City. Their showing in the Champions League was a testament of that, and they are performing very well this Premier League season.

The former England man told Sky Sports: "If Liverpool don't lose at Man City, then that rules City out of the title race".

Guardiola doesn't get a lot wrong. Laporte could be tasked with trying to stop the Egyptian again on Thursday night.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg robbed Oleksandr Zinchenko before lashing home a smart Southampton goal, but Guardiola later defended his Ukraine star despite that mistake.

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How do you call this one? "We are going to try to make our game and to fight as far as possible for our chance to win the Premier League". Both teams can demolish anyone on their day.

City can narrow the gap to a more manageable four points with a victory, though, and Guardiola is determined to stay positive despite Liverpool's form. Direct clashes between leading teams have a major impact towards the end of the season.

Last January, it was City who were on course to equal Arsenal's "Invincibles" of 2003-04 until they went to Anfield in January and were blown away by a three-goal salvo in nine second-half minutes to lose 4-3 despite a late rally. That is the most important for our team. Guardiola does not fear teams but he certainly respects them. His Anfield counterpart accepts that may be true on form but insists Liverpool's unbeaten league campaign faces the biggest test imaginable against the champions.

Will this be a match where Pep seeks to play to our strengths rather than counter the threat posed by Liverpool?

It is no shock the two teams were the top performers in 2018's league action, but the surprise comes from seeing them level on points for the calendar year. There was nothing between them in the standings - they were tied on points after seven games - and plenty of respect was shown on both sides.

Eventually, Unai Emery had to bin that tactic because it became so risky for Arsenal.

Aguero said on mancity.com: "I'm not the type of guy who keeps a tally of that kind of thing". He is key to their system.

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