Liverpool v Osasuna - Pre-Season Friendly Official Premier League Nike Strike Aerowsculpt 21/22 during the pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and CA Osasuna at Anfield on August 9, 2021 in Liverpool, England. Liverpool England breton-liverpoo210809_npyDF PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xJosexBretonx

As Manchester City prepares to visit Anfield on Sunday, Pep Guardiola has dismissed Jurgen Klopp’s declaration that Liverpool are not in the title fight this season.

City leads Liverpool by 13 points going into the game, despite having played one more game. Victory on Sunday would increase the deficit to 16 points after only 10 games, while defeat and a Liverpool win in their game in hand in midweek would reduce the gap to seven.

Klopp has claimed twice this week that Liverpool are not title challengers this season as for their faltering start, but Guardiola plainly disagreed, as he praised Liverpool’s start to the season.

“Always they have been [title challengers] and always will be,” Guardiola said, confirming he sees Klopp’s side as City’s biggest title challengers.

“I know the quality they have, the character, if 10 games left maybe I would say they cannot catch us, but being in that position, anything can happen.

“You have to behave at top, top level, especially off the ball, for second balls many many things. At Anfield, winning or losing we always play with big personality.

“It’s one of the biggest ones [stadiums], nicest ones, it’s a joy to be there and be a part of the game. It’s a football game, Liverpool is important, it is the quality they have.”

Guardiola also discussed City’s last two encounters with Liverpool, which ended in 2-2 draws in the Premier League.

City were defeated in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and again in the Community Shield at the start of the season, highlighting how close they came to a historic quadruple last season.

He said: “This is our biggest achievement as a team [consistently fighting at the top] but everything can change immediately, two months ago, three months ago, Liverpool was fighting for an unprecedented situation in English football, fighting for four titles.

“They won two, lost one by one point, and in the final, they had more shots on target, more chances, more everything than the opponent and they lost.

“For just two little details they could not achieve something that no English team had done. This the same thing with the same manager but those moments happen.

“We will have them, we try to avoid having bad moments but we will have them, and its part of the nature of the competition. I pay zero attention about good moments or bad moments. I analyse how the team is and I’m always expecting the best of them.”