Pep Guardiola brands Anfield “toughest stadium in Europe” ahead of title clash

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Pep Guardiola has played or managed in most football cauldrons Europe has to offer.

On Sunday, he will step out at the one he considers to be the most intimidating.

But he is relishing the ­hostile atmosphere that awaits him and his Manchester City players at Anfield.

While Guardiola hopes there is no repeat of the ugly scenes that saw City’s coach come under ­attack there in 2018, he welcomes the ­fervent scenes inside the famous arena.

“I love it,” said Guardiola. “I didn’t like what happened in the bus outside the stadium but, in the stadium, when they support the team, it’s perfect, it’s lovely.

Anfield has been a tough place to go for City in recent seasons

“That’s why we’re involved in this business, to be involved in this kind of experience, in these stadiums.

“They’re an exceptional team and the stadium makes an influence.

“The history speaks for ­itself, it’s something special, but I think it’s more for the quality of the team and what they do, the quality of the players and the ­manager they have.

“I would say, right now, it’s the toughest stadium in Europe to go to.”

Guardiola has conceded the ground is the toughest in Europe to go to
Guardiola has conceded the ground is the toughest in Europe to go to

Endorsing Guardiola’s point is the fact City have not won at Anfield for 16 years, their last victory there a 2-1 smash-and-grab raid in 2003, thanks to two late strikes from Nicolas Anelka.

That shows the scale of the task ­facing City tomorrow, against the reigning European champions and a team Guardiola currently rates as the best in the world.

“I said last season, when we won the Premier League, that they are the best contender I’ve faced in my career,” he said. “That’s why to win this league was one of the biggest achievements we’ve had as a club, and it remains the same.

The City boss is wary of a repeat attack on the team bus like in 2018
The City boss is wary of a repeat attack on the team bus like in 2018

“So, probably, right now, they’re the strongest team in the world.

“The quality Liverpool have – if you play high, they make movements in behind, and they’re so fast that, when you defend deep, they attack a lot of players, with Trent Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson.

“They are incredible crossers, they have good headers in the box, they’re incredible at the back, the second balls, with set pieces.

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“After winning back-to-back titles, we need that kind of rival to help us take another step forward.”

If City lose, they will fall nine points behind Liverpool, but Guardiola does not think that gap would be insurmountable.

He added: “The season is long, there are a lot of games and situations that can happen.”



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