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Pep hits back Pep Guardiola planning to confront Jurgen Klopp over his 'two week break' claim


Guardiola’s side are top of the Premier League ahead of their trip to Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola’s side are top of the Premier League ahead of their trip to Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Guardiola’s side are top of the Premier League ahead of their trip to Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rejected suggestions from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp that his side benefitted from a mid-season break that has helped them build up a commanding lead in the title race.

A shock home defeat against Brighton last Wednesday left Liverpool seven points behind Manchester City, who also have a game in game on the defending champions ahead of the big two clashing at Anfield on Sunday.

Klopp suggested City's freshness may be releated to the mini-break imposed on the club due to a Covid-19 outbreak in December, in comments that instantly raised a few eyebrows as he said: "We didn't have a break. I think City had a two-week break for Covid reasons."

Yet Guardiola has hit back at Klopp by insisting he is wrong to make his comments, as he suggested he will raise the subject when the two top managers in English football meet at Anfield on Sunday.

City have pointed out that the only days off they had as a result were the day of the intended game at Goodison Park and the planned recovery day afterwards.

City manager Guardiola said: "He made a mistake. It was two months off, or three months off? No, (it was) four. Four months off," he said, referring to Liverpool's break between the end of last season and the start of this.

"That’s why we are in top form right now. Jurgen has to see the calendar again. We had Covid, we have one week and we played with 14 players at Stamford Bridge.

"But maybe I’m wrong and it was not two weeks, it was three or four weeks. Tomorrow when I see Jurgen I’ll say to him: ‘How many weeks or days were we off?’

"I’m surprised. I thought Jurgen was not that type of manager, like other ones who are usually doing it. I didn’t expect that comment.

“But maybe it was a misunderstanding from him. If he sees the calendar again he will realise it was not two weeks, it was two months.

"I’m not irritated. I didn’t expect it, not from him. He knows it’s not true, come on! Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off. Everyone knows it."

Meanwhile, Liverpool look set to be boosted by the return of a host of first team stars for the game against City on Sunday, with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, utility player Fabinho and forward Sadio Mane all in line to return.

Klopp also confirmed he is weighing up the prospect of handing new defensive signings Ben Davis and Ozan Kabak a start.

"With our situation, we will see who can play again, who cannot and who should not or who should play again – all these kind of things. Then we will see," he added.

"In an ideal world, you have a few weeks and work together on defensive things, especially organisation and all these kind of things. Ben and Ozan had yesterday an analysis meeting – and they trained – where they got shown all the stuff we do usually, like a centre-half movie.

"So today, proper session. Tomorrow, proper session and we will see. I don't know yet."

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Online Editors