Later News Feb 14

Klopp concedes title race, but Guardiola refuses to count Liverpool out even as Man City march on

Following Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat at Leicester City last evening (SGT), Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has conceded that his side will not retain their Premier League title this season.


His Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola, however, disagrees. 


Like that overachieving relative you meet at Chinese New Year who can only be supportive of you after they have ascertained they are doing better than you in life, Guardiola has decided to take the magnanimous approach when it comes to talking about his one-time title rivals.


“From what I saw, the way they played today against Leicester…of course they can do it,” Guardiola said when asked if Liverpool could still win the title. 


“It is the same Liverpool that I met in the last years but in the box, they are not as clinical as they were before. Sometimes you have that period where you have to create more to score, and every time they arrive they score.”


The 50-year-old could even afford to express his sentimentality, as he added: “Football is mood, feeling, not tactics sometimes. The quality of the team is still there.


“I don't think they drop the quality of press or play. They always create more than the opponent. I don't like to suffer against them but as a spectator, I always enjoy watching Liverpool.”


WATCH: Rodri reacts to Manchester City's 3-0 win over Spurs


Of course, you can’t help but wonder if Guardiola’s generous support for Liverpool stems from his good mood at having witnessed his City side go seven points clear at the top of the table following their 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur this morning (SGT).


Two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and a penalty from Rodri did the job for City, who barely had to break a sweat to beat a Spurs side that is clearly experiencing a premature onset of ‘Third-Season Mourinho’ syndrome.


City’s victory puts them firmly on course for yet another Premier League title, with the Citizens now unbeaten in their last 15 league games.


At the other end of the spectrum, Liverpool have only won twice in their last 10 league games, and the loss to the Foxes was another blow to their hopes of winning back-to-back Premier League titles.


Unlike Guardiola’s encouraging assessment, Klopp was more sober about his side’s title chances this season.


WATCH: An emotional Klopp concedes title race


When asked if he was conceding the title this season, an emotional Klopp simply replied: “Yes. I can’t believe it, but yes.


“I don't think we can close that gap this year. We have to win football games. Today was really good in parts. We have to avoid mistakes and misunderstanding.


“We have to make steps, to perform again and results are related to that. We are good enough to win it [the title], for long periods, but not until the end.”