Pep Guardiola admits Liverpool are the ‘biggest favourite’ for the Premier League title this season but suggested that a number of ‘strong’ teams could challenge the champions.
Manchester City face the Reds this weekend in a hugely anticipated meeting between the title rivals, the two clubs having set unprecedented standards in the Premier League over the last three seasons.
The Champions travel to the Etihad on Sunday having also taken an early lead in this season’s title race, and City boss Guardiola admits Liverpool are the favourites to reclaim the title despite strong competition from a number of improved sides.
“They are the biggest favourite but with the pandemic, the situation is a bit different,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.
“I see other teams strong, Leicester maintained the level from most of last season, Arsenal made a big step forward to be contenders and Tottenham, Mourinho has the team what he wants.
🔴 Jurgen Klopp has beaten Pep Guardiola more times than any other manager – 9 of 19 meetings (D2 L8)
🏟️ However, Klopp has not won in 4 PL visits to Etihad Stadium (D1 L3) since Guardiola took over Man City in 2016
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 6, 2020
“Chelsea, in the beginning, is so stable now and has a huge squad for rotating top players. United in this moment is not in terms of results but we saw the quality they had last season, we suffered a lot in results and upfront they are incredibly fast and clinical.
“I think this season will be a lot of teams being there the last 5-10 games will be important to arrive being there to fight for the title. Hopefully, we can be there and arrive at the end with a chance to fight for the title.”
Last season saw Liverpool win the title with a record seven games to spare, though Jurgen Klopp’s side finished one point short of equalling City’s fabled landmark of 100 Premier League points, set during the 2017/18 season.
However, Guardiola reckons it will be difficult for any side to reach a record points total this season in what has shaped as an unpredictable campaign.
“What is important is winning the title,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how many points you get. I don’t know what is going to happen.
“It doesn’t look like a team will make a lot of points but you never know. The teams I mentioned are all able to make a big run of wins so everything can happen. I have to focus on ourselves to improve the things we need and try to win games.