Guardiola sends stern warning to Manchester City stars ahead of Liverpool clash at Etihad

Guardiola sends stern warning to Manchester City stars ahead of Liverpool clash at Etihad

- Man City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium for their Premier League contest on Thursday, January 3, 2019

- Pep Guardiola's men trail their opponent by seven points as the season continues to wind down

- City boss has however told his players to keep their focus all through the game as failure to do that will see them punished after the game

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has warned his players not to lose focus when they clash against table toppers Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.

The Citizens are currently third on the log with 47 points - seven points behind the Reds ahead of their crunch clash this evening.

It is also believed that the result of the crunch match will go a long way in deciding who wins the Premier League title at the end of the season.

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The defending champions have not been as impressive as they were when they won the title last season with a record 100 points.

However, this encounter provide City the opportunity to cut down the gap between the two sides as the season begins to wind down with about 15 more matches to go.

Guardiola has called on his players to give their full attention to that fixture, rather than concern themselves with trying to predict where the Reds may come unstuck over the coming weeks.

The Blues boss told Sky Sports: "What you have to do is control yourselves.

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"The problem when you are behind, which in my career I was many times, is you just think about what is happening to the people in front of you and forget what you have to do.

"That is a huge mistake. Once that happens, you cannot pick them up. It will be impossible. On Thursday we have an opportunity to win three points and not allow them to do it.

"But after, if you think 'they have to lose in that game' and you go against any team and do not do your job, then you are over."

Guardiola admits that Liverpool are near perfect in all the departments adding that they have been able to fortify themselves where they lagged behind last campaign.

He added: "They are solid in behind. In the positional game when the opponents defend deep they had problems attacking them but now they are able to attack them really well.

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"In the transition as always, they are so good. In the set-pieces they are a massive, tall team. "So it is a team that can control all areas. That is why I am saying what I am saying.

"In front they play the same players, but in the middle they have changed a little and especially at the back. They have changed a lot of players at the back. "And they know each other better. They have had four or five seasons together." earlier reported that Pep Guardiola has taken responsibility for Manchester City’s poor form in December which has seen them lose three of their last four Premier League games.

According to the Spaniard, City are ten points behind leaders Liverpool because of him, but he looks to correct that as his team face Southampton this weekend.

The Sun reports that Guardiola is disappointed at himself and he is ready to get Man City winning again. ( -> We have updated to serve you better.

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