Manchester City title defence 'almost impossible' without beating Liverpool - Guardiola

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates with his team mates after scoring to make it 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium

"I think Manchester City will come into this game knowing that they are still unstable".

"We will see what Guardiola does because he knows the squad better than anyone else". "Sometimes if you prepare a football game, watching two or three games of the opponent, you still have no clue what they are doing".

City scored nearly immediately when Ward-Prowse deflected Raheem Sterling's cross past his own goalkeeper and Agüero quickly made it 3-1.

"I'm protecting my team-mates and that's normal, that's how everyone should react and that's what we all need to do, to back each other".

Guardiola is well known for refusing to budge from his tactical approach and laughed when he was asked if he thought he might need to now - perhaps an understandable response considering all City achieved last season in breaking several Premier League records.

"We shouldn't focus too much on points at the moment, we know if we can play to our potential we know we are a good team", he told SkySports.

"We're not here to send a message, Liverpool know what they have to do, we know what we have to do next Thursday". I trust a lot in the way we want to play.

English Premier League: Manchester City 3-1 Southampton
Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose

"It was always very clear that he was a very influential player with the ball, but that he's this good I didn't see it, honestly - maybe because of a different style Roma played". They were very hard to beat.

That sturdy defence saw them return to Wales with four points from the trips to Crystal Palace and Leicester, where the Bluebirds secured a 1-0 win at the same time as Tottenham's five-match winning run came to a crushing halt.

"It's a massive step and just what we needed", he said.

Pep Guardiola's men regained the lead in the 45th minute, when Raheem Sterling's cut-back pass was deflected against a defender, and went in. We might be nine points in front now but we have to go to Manchester City in five days.

The champions can reduce the advantage further when the two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday and Guardiola said it is a must-win game. And on all but four occasions in Premier League history, the side who were leading at Christmas suffered a downturn in form and lower average points per match thereafter.

The heavy loss at Anfield brought back memories of Arsene Wenger's tenure at the club when we'd regularly be on the receiving end of big defeats to our rivals away from home in recent years.

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