The Reds’ 3-0 loss to Catalan giants in the Champions League will not impact their bid for the Premier League crown, says the man trying to stop them
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool’s crushing defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League will have no bearing on the Premier League title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were beaten 3-0 at Camp Nou on Wednesday as Lionel Messi’s late brace put Barca in complete control of the semi-final tie.
The Reds must quickly bounce back, however, as a loss at Newcastle United on Saturday would open the door for City to retain their crown with a win over Leicester City two days later.
Liverpool face the daunting task of trying to overhaul their European first-leg deficit at Anfield next week, but Guardiola does not expect their continental commitments to affect their final two domestic fixtures at St James’ Park and at home to Wolves.
“I don’t think so, the game was incredibly good, both sides. Liverpool were outstanding and a good performance from both. I enjoyed watching it,” Guardiola said.
“I don’t think it will affect them, I think it will be not easy at Newcastle but they’ll be well prepared to win there.
“I think Barca defended really well, they beat an incredible team.
“Liverpool must be proud of what they did in the most difficult stadium, they played with personality and courage. Both teams played the way they did and they deserve it.”
Guardiola confirmed Kevin De Bruyne will remain on the sidelines for the visit of Leicester because of a hamstring issue but is unsure over the availability of Fernandinho (knee).
Quizzed on De Bruyne’s progress, the Blues boss said: “I don’t know, he’s not available on Monday.”
City may have been knocked from the top of the Premier League table by the time they next take to the field.
They only boast a one-point advantage over Liverpool as things stand.
With the Reds in action two days earlier than City in the latest round of fixtures, Jurgen Klopp’s side will have the chance to put down the latest title marker.