So strong
Guardiola likens Jurgen Klopp’s team to when Real Madrid pushed his Barcelona side to maintain their high standards in Spain

Liverpool’s strong start to the season is keeping Manchester City’s players on their toes, Pep Guardiola says.

City are currently two points clear of second place Liverpool in the Premier League and the Etihad boss is happy to see such strong competition – likening it to his days in Spain when Real Madrid pushed his Barcelona side at the top.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City team are aiming to become the first side to win back-to-back Premier League titles in ten years, while somehow finding a way to improve on the record-breaking 100 points they accrued last term.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City team are aiming to become the first side to win back-to-back Premier League titles in ten years, while somehow finding a way to improve on the record-breaking 100 points they accrued last term.

“I remember perfectly how tough that season was, because Madrid with Manuel [Pellegrini] played incredibly good as well as getting 96 points – that’s why it was so nice, because we did the 99 points when the year before we had won the treble with Barcelona,” Guardiola recalled of his 2010 title win.

“That is why we maintained that level, we did 99 points with someone from behind pushing us and we knew that if we dropped points Madrid is going to win the title and that is why it helped us.

“It’s quite similar with [Rafa] Nadal, [Roger] Federer and [Novak] Djokovic, no? They put one better than the other one because they know. We need it as athletes, in sport.”

Man City are being driven to maintain their high standards by a relentless Liverpool side

Man City are being driven to maintain their high standards by a relentless Liverpool side

And on this season, the manager said: “[My players] knew, I didn’t tell them but they knew how strong Liverpool are, and they know that we can’t drop points because if we do then Liverpool is going to win the league.

“You can say Liverpool, Chelsea the same or Tottenham in that moment, Arsenal as well. To compete you need good opponents close and this season we have it here and in Europe.”

City thrashed West Ham 4-0 at the weekend, while Liverpool beat Watford 3-0 to maintain their unbeaten starts to the season.

Chelsea, though, lost ground in the title race when their run of 12 games without defeat came to an abrupt end against Tottenham at Wembley.

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