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Covid ‘break’? Pep Guardiola sees red

City’s Premier League trip to Everton was initially scheduled for December 28 but was postponed after a number of positive Covid-19 cases identified within the squad
Pep Guardiola

Reuters   |   Manchester   |   Published 07.02.21, 02:33 AM

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday hit back at his Liverpool counterpart Juergen Klopp’s claim that City have benefited from a “two-week Covid break” to go on top of the Premier League table.

City’s Premier League trip to Everton was initially scheduled for December 28 but was postponed after a number of positive Covid-19 cases identified within the squad.

As a result, Guardiola’s side did not play for a week between their 2-0 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United and a 3-1 victory over Chelsea on January 3 — which they played without eight first-team players.

“We haven’t had a break — City had two weeks for Covid reasons,” Klopp told reporters ahead of City’s visit to Anfield on Sunday. “It’s a tough year. For some teams it looks less, but for us, it’s tough.”

Asked about Klopp’s comments, Guardiola sarcastically replied: “He made a mistake, it was two months off, or three months, no four, four months we had off.”

Guardiola vowed to speak to the Liverpool boss on the issue when their sides meet at Anfield this weekend. “Juergen has to see the calendar again,” Guardiola added. “I thought Juergen was not that kind of manager but maybe it was a misunderstanding from him.”

City can move 10 points clear of defending champions Liverpool with a win at Anfield.

“We have not had exceptional results there, but we made good performances,” Guardiola said. “We go to try to win the game, not to draw, knowing their quality and the team they have. No more than that.”

Klopp, meanwhile, said Liverpool must look to make Anfield a fortress again after two straight defeats at home and Sunday can help kick-start their campaign.

“We need to play really good football. It’s that I say ‘come on now, it’s Anfield’. We love playing there but lost the last two,” Klopp said.           

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