LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Manchester City's manager Josep 'Pep' Guardiola shakes hands with Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pep Guardiola insists Liverpool are still title contenders despite 9-point gap

Pep Guardiola has refused claims that the Premier League title is already Man City‘s, insisting both Chelsea and Liverpool remain in the hunt despite a big points gap.

City extended their lead at the top of the table to eight points on Wednesday night, with Phil Foden’s goal enough to put away a spirited Brentford side.

With Chelsea drawing 1-1 with Brighton, Guardiola’s side were able to strengthen their hold on pole position, though Liverpool – currently nine points behind in third – have a game in hand over the reigning champions.

Given their recent form, with four wins, five draws and a loss in their last 10 games, Chelsea appear to have already been ruled out of the title race, while the Reds’ 1-0 loss to Leicester has dampened expectations.

However, speaking after City’s victory at Brentford, Guardiola stressed that the season is not over, with “54 [points] still to play for,” and, in turn, to potentially drop.

“There are many games to go,” he told journalists, as reported by the Guardian.

“We are eight points in front but there are 54 still to play for and many tough games still to play.

“I’m not going to believe anyone who says it’s already done. The teams we have with Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional.

“One is a European champion and Liverpool have been our big rival in the last three or four years.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 15, 2021: Manchester City's manager Josep 'Pep' Guardiola during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Manchester City FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is par for the course for Guardiola to talk up the chances of City’s rivals, though internally there will be a growing belief that they can take another title.

The Spaniard went on to turn the focus to his side and their form, insisting that their lead is not due to the ill fortune of Chelsea and Liverpool, but their own performances.

“We have the distance not because they dropped points but because we won 10 in a row,” he continued.

“But there are 54 points still to play for.”

In terms of the title race, and Liverpool’s chances of gaining on City as they await the rescheduling of their game in hand against Leeds, a lot rest of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

Victory for either side could push them back into contention at the expense of the other, while a draw would only play into the hands of City further.