Pep Guardiola has claimed the 14-point gap Liverpool were able to close between them and Man City was “fake,” due to the Reds holding two games in hand.
The Reds head to the Etihad this weekend looking to finally move ahead of City in the title race, having reduced the gap between them and the champions to a single point.
Back in mid-January, Liverpool were 14 points behind their rivals having played two games fewer, sitting third in the table as Chelsea appeared more likely to challenge for the title.
But Jurgen Klopp‘s side have won every league game since then, and are on a 10-match winning streak heading into Sunday’s clash, while City lost to Tottenham and were held to draws by Southampton and Crystal Palace.
The two contenders have now both played 30 games, and whoever emerges as winner on Sunday will hold a major advantage for the run-in.
In typical fashion, speaking before the visit of Liverpool, Guardiola claimed the 14-point gap was “fake” and City were “more than brilliant” even in the games they dropped points.
“I’m going to tell you something: 14 points, it was fake. You were wrong,” he told the Manchester Evening News.
“We played two more games [than Liverpool]. Fake. It was not a mistake.
“After analysing the games we dropped points – Crystal Palace, especially Southampton – we were brilliant, more than brilliant.
“We were not effective, we were not clinical, but we were brilliant.”
As Guardiola continued, he described the current situation as the “normal reality,” though the Spaniard is clearly overlooking the fact that having two games in hand was as much a challenge for Liverpool as it was a caveat to the points gap narrative.
“When we were 14 points ahead of Liverpool even myself I could not believe it because I know the incredible opponent we have to face. One of the best teams in Europe,” he said.
“The reality is one point right now, this is the normal reality. It’s an honour to be there to fight to win the Premier League.
“I lived this situation when I was in Barcelona; always Madrid, sometimes Atletico, but normally Barcelona and [Real].
“Here it’s always five, six teams, but in the last five years, two…
“This is the reality in the Premier League. It shows the consistency and structure both teams had.
“I understand people talking about Liverpool. I’m pretty sure all the people will be watching that game. It will be two teams top of the league trying to win the Premier League.”