Pep Guardiola faces one of his toughest challenges of the season as manager of Premier League leaders Manchester City with the task before him of bypassing Liverpool over two legs in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Jurgen Klopp is one of the few managers who has really managed to make life tough for Pep consistently, and ahead of the first leg at Anfield the Catalan coach spoke to the press at the CFA, along with Kevin De Bruyne.
The big injury news is that Sergio Aguero hasn’t traveled to Liverpool and is out of tomorrow’s game.
“He is in Manchester. He didn’t come (to Liverpool),” Pep explained. “We’ll see (if he plays in the derby).
“Sergio is much much better, but today the physios spoke to him and he said he still has a small problem and isn’t comfortable.”
In better news, Pep confirmed that Fabian Delph is available again after a long lay-off, and with Laporte and Danilo also options for left-back, the City boss has a dilemma… and an idea.
“Fabian Delph is back, Danilo can play there. I have an idea. But you understand I can’t tell you!”
Birthday boy Gabriel Jesus, 21 today, will start against Liverpool in Aguero’s absence and Pep has faith in him being able to play a run of games.
“Today Gabriel Jesus is 21 years old and when you are 21 years old you are not tired.”
Much has been said about the Anfield atmosphere, and despite having been there a few times now, Pep said he still hasn’t ‘lived it’ and will see tomorrow what it’s like.
“The people suggest what is going to happen tomorrow but I still have not lived it. Tomorrow after the game I can tell you what it was like.”
City often dominate games and have little to do at the back – Guardiola knows that will not be the case tomorrow and his defenders will need to be alert.
“I know Liverpool’s qualities and I am concerned about what they do. We know that sometimes we will have to defend.
“I know the way we play is perfect for Liverpool. They attack the space.”
Could some of City’s younger players buckle at Anfield? Pep has no doubts whatsoever about the likes of Sterling and Sané.
“We are so happy with all (young players). You have to live these situations to be better. Why should I doubt them when we did it at many stages this season?
“If it doesn’t go well, it’s a good lesson for the future. I saw players who are 32 more scared than those guys!”
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