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Pep Guardiola admits Liverpool are ‘unstoppable’

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Pep Guardiola has admitted that Liverpool look “unstoppable” right now.

Manchester City, the reigning Premier League champions, already sit eight points behind league-leaders Liverpool who have won a perfect eight out of eight to start the season.

Asked about the challenge of chasing down Liverpool, for a second season in a row, Guardiola was adamant this would not be easy and the way Man City reduced Liverpool’s lead last season to win the title on the final day means nothing.

“I don’t believe in that kind of thing, every season is different,” Guardiola said. “In sport the only way to do well is to stay in the present. I’m not setting any points targets or objectives at this stage. In April and May you can do that but what we are facing is an opponent who are unstoppable right now. Liverpool are champions of Europe and haven’t lost once in eight games.

“We’ll just have to try and do what we can, we have 50 games left in all competitions. I’m not concerned about being the guy who thinks he’s going to win every Premier League for the rest of his life. Of course I still want to win, and I still believe we are contenders, but there is a long way to go and all sorts of dynamics, momentums and injuries still to happen. If we don’t win I will say congratulations to the team that does. What Liverpool are doing is fantastic but Chelsea and Arsenal are also getting better. The level is rising all the time.”

So, that’s not Guardiola chucking the towel in but there seems to be a realization from the Spanish coach that his team face an almighty task to overhaul Liverpool’s lead this season.

Defensive injuries have hit City hard early in the season, so there is hope they can get back to their best once their first choice defensive options return in the coming months.

Aymeric Laporte is out injured, John Stones had been injured and out of form and the emergency center back pairing of Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi hasn’t worked out.

Liverpool know that City will stay in this title race Jurgen Klopp certainly knows it is still early days. But Guardiola’s admission that Liverpool seem “unstoppable” suggests that the Reds are winning the psychological battle right now.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Watford

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  • Manchester City looking to bounce back after stunning loss to Norwich City
  • Watford enjoyed thrilling comeback draw last weekend v. Arsenal
  • Manchester City have won their last 11 meetings with Watford in all competitions, scoring at least twice in each match and 38 times in total. 
  • This will be the fourth managerial meeting between Pep Guardiola and Sanchez Flores but the first in England. Sanchez Flores won the first match as Atletico Madrid manager in February 2010 against Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Coming off the club’s first Premier League in 19 matches last weekend, Manchester City returns home to the friendly confines of the Etihad Stadium to face a team they’re quite familiar with in Watford. (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

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Man City of course obliterated Watford, 6-0, in the FA Cup final last May, but it’s a new Watford with Quique Sanchez Flores in charge. Watford as well looked the best it had all season in the second half of last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, though that very easily could have just been because Arsenal’s midfield was non-existent in that half.

In any case, it all shapes up to be an exciting match, especially if new Watford signing Ismalia Sarr can get a start and run at Man City’s makeshift backline. Then again, if Raheem Sterling is back to his usual clinical self, it could be a long afternoon again for the Hornets.

Injuries/suspensions

Manchester City: OUT – Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Leroy Sane (knee); QUESTIONABLE – Phil Foden (illness)

Watford: OUT – Craig Cathcart (muscle), Isaac Success (groin), Troy Deeney (knee)


Projected lineups

Manchester City: Ederson – Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko – Gundogan, Rodri, Silva – Sterling – Aguero, De Bruyne

Watford: Foster – Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas – Capoue, Cleverly, Dacoure – Pereyra, Sarr, Deulofeu

What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on striker Gabriel Jesus after his goal in mid-week v. Shakhtar Donetsk: “It’s difficult to find anywhere in the world a striker like Gabriel. The number nine for Brazil, his behaviour in training is outstanding and he has to fight with one of the best strikers I have ever seen in my life in Aguero [for a place in the side]. I will not find a player like Gabriel. To sub Sergio you have to have a top player. I am so delighted with the strikers. When Gabriel plays, he does absolutely everything. Like he did in Ukraine, not just for the goal, he fights and plays.”

Quique Sanchez Flores, on last week’s comeback v. Arsenal: “We have good feelings. We need to make sure we don’t go too much about this match as the next one is completely different. It is not a time to talk about how many shots or how many attempts we had. It is time to be realistic. We still need to change the dynamic – this is the first step and then change for the next opponent.”


Prediction

Manchester City will be ultra focused this weekend to get back to winning ways, and even with a makeshift centerback duo, there’s still more than enough attacking firepower to demolish Watford. The Hornets looked better last week after making the coaching change during the international break, but this will be a step back for Watford.

Man City 3-0 Watford

Man City honors title-winning team in hometowns

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Manchester City celebrated its Premier League title in front of its home fans at the Etihad Stadium Sunday, but the club also gave fans across the world a chance to celebrate the stars on and off the field.

Man City posted a cool video of how it projected each player and coach’s image in their hometowns against a tall building, allowing fans to celebrate their hometown star’s title. The club placed projectors in 25 cities across three continents, showing the graphic for local fans on Sunday evening.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Here’s a look at what it looked like in Stockport, England for Phil Foden or Gelsenkirchen, Germany for Ilkay Gundogan, to use just two players from the squad.