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Pep Guardiola admits Liverpool form has been "overwhelming" this season

Pep Guardiola admits Liverpool form has been
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Manchester City are the two-time defending Premier League champions, but trail the Reds by 16 points.

Pep Guardiola denies Manchester City's title defence this season has been a weak one.

The Premier League champions for the past two years currently trail runaway leaders Liverpool by 16 points and manager Guardiola has long since conceded defeat.

Yet the team are still second and last season they became the first side to retain the title in decade.

Pep Guardiola celebrates last season's title success
Pep Guardiola celebrates last season's title success (Nick Potts/PA).

Guardiola feels that compares more than favourably to other recent winners of the competition.

The former Barcelona boss said: "This team, what they have done in the last two seasons, especially the last one, was incredible.

"I have said many times what happens to the champions of the Premier League when they start to drop points and they cannot get the first (place). What happens with those teams? They fall down, they drop – and we wouldn't.

"So Liverpool obviously will be champions of the Premier League, but they would be champions in Spain, champions in Italy, champions in Germany. They would be champions everywhere after 23 games, 22 victories, 1 draw.

"In the recent past when Chelsea won the league, the next season, they didn't qualify for the Champions League, Leicester the same and Chelsea again the same. When we won the league we repeated the league.

"In Spain with the points we have we would be there, one or two points behind the leader, in Germany we would be there, one or two points behind the leader, in Italy as well.

"But Liverpool are just fantastic, phenomenal, overwhelming. So we have to accept it and learn from that."

City's focus is now on the domestic cups and the Champions League. They host Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday before facing Manchester United in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday, leading 3-1 from the first encounter.

Manchester City continue their defence of the FA Cup on Sunday
Manchester City continue their defence of the FA Cup on Sunday (Nick Potts/PA).

The Champions League then resumes with a last-16 trip to Real Madrid next month.

Guardiola has no concerns about the mentality of his players after their title blow.

He said: "We have two games now where we can learn about how you handle the knockout game against Madrid, this kind of situations.

"Every game we have a good argument (to play), a good reason, so why don't we play for that reason?

"We play to be better as a team or as an individual and, in terms of mentality, this team is incredible.

"Honestly, it is one of the best I have ever handled or faced in my career for how they react in the bad moments.

"The numbers, the results, not just in this season, I think are good. Even in the previous seasons I think it was phenomenal. That is why I am so proud."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Manchester CityMan City25163665293651
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
4Chelsea2612594336741
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
9Everton26106103438-436
10Arsenal2671363634234
11Burnley26104123039-934
12Southampton2694133248-1631
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
16Bournemouth2675142640-1426
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2566133043-1324
19Watford2659122440-1624
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418

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