Man City boss Pep Guardiola: We showed why we are champions

Guardiola reacts to Man City's 3-1 defeat at Liverpool: "The way we played was incredible and I'm proud of my team more than ever"

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Pep Guardiola said his Manchester City side's 'awesome' performance against Liverpool at Anfield showed why they are back-to-back Premier League champions

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has come out in defence of his team, describing them as "incredible" despite slipping nine points behind Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's side laid down a significant marker in their bid to win a first league title in 30 years by beating the defending champions 3-1 at Anfield on Renault Super Sunday.

Liverpool surrendered a 10-point lead to City last season but head into the international break in a commanding position, with Guardiola's team slipping to fourth in the table.

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It appeared the ball struck the arm of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area before the hosts broke and scored the opening goal from Fabinho, but VAR ruled it not to be handball

City's miserable run at Anfield - one win in 29 visits - continued in a match which left their manager raging at some controversial VAR calls.

Fabinho broke the deadlock as City were still disputing a handball by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area, as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane put the game out of sight before Bernardo Silva's late consolation.

'We showed why we are back-to-back champions'

"What happened today is we showed why we are the champions," Guardiola said. "In this stadium with the way we played was incredible and I'm proud of my team more than ever.

"We put in an incredible performance in this stadium against the best team in Europe and with the way we played, I'm so proud. We played so good.

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Guardiola approached referee Michael Oliver at full-time for a discussion

"We are playing in the way which shows why we are back-to-back champions.

"There are still seven months and if Liverpool win [the Premier League], I will be the first to congratulate them because we cannot deny how good they are, but they way they play, they create the chances with this personality to play all the time."

Can Man City still win the title?

5:13
Jose Mourinho and Roy Keane believe that the title race is 'done' as Liverpool now have a nine-point advantage on title rivals Man City, but Vincent Kompany believes there is still more drama to come

Guardiola said: "I don't know. I am not a magician I don't know the future. Now it is the national team, hopefully they come back, the people with injuries come back and it is Chelsea at home next, we will try to beat them.

Ilkay Gundogan has expressed his frustrations with VAR technology 0:48
Ilkay Gundogan admits it's an 'uncomfortable' situation for Manchester City knowing that they must rely on Liverpool to drop points

"There are three teams in front of us that have more chances to be champions than us so we're going to try. In football, you can't always win. Here at Anfield, it's so nice and I'm so proud to see my team play in this stadium against this team and playing in that way."

preview image 3:00
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's thrilling victory over Manchester City at Anfield

Should City have had a penalty?

The City boss added: "Please ask the referees [about the handball before the opening goal], please don't ask me. Ask this question to Mike Riley and the guys doing VAR, but don't ask me."

Guardiola approached referee Michael Oliver and his assistants at full-time to shake their hands, but denied it was a sarcastic gesture.

Image: Guardiola felt there were two moments when his side could have been awarded a penalty
Image: The City boss expresses his anger at seeing his team not win a penalty

"No way. I congratulate them. I'm so polite and I didn't say anything here," he said.

"We tried to do our job and I'd like to talk about the performance, which was so good.

"I know the teams that come here and play for respect from Anfield and with the problems we have in the squad and the way we played, it was awesome. One of the best performances we have played.

Alexander-Arnold: You have to carry on playing

Trent Alexander-Arnold was fortunate not to be penalised for handball
Image: Alexander-Arnold was fortunate not to be penalised for handball

Alexander-Arnold told Sky Sports afterwards: "Obviously, there's VAR and it has hit my arm. I think it might have hit Bernardo Silva's first.

"But it's one of them where you have to carry on playing.

"We went down the other end and punished them. They were complaining about the goal, but it was a wonderful strike from Fabinho."

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Liverpool and Manchester City resume their domestic campaigns after the international break on November 23, with the Reds travelling to Crystal Palace at 3pm before champions City host Chelsea on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm.

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