But coming after City’s dramatic Champions League exit to Monaco in midweek was the reason behind Guardiola’s pride at the spirit his team showed Sunday.
“There’s an outstanding, consistent side this year [Chelsea] and they will be champions, probably”. Gael Clichy tried to atone for his bad defensive positioning which saw Roberto Firmino sneak in behind by felling him like a dead tree. And that side was Liverpool.
City and Liverpool shared the points after a breathless encounter and Guardiola felt the injured Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus could have made a difference had he been paired with Aguero. During that time, he sent in three crosses that the Reds had to deal with.
Craig Pawson did not escape the eye-ball treatment, though, and two minutes later the harassed fourth official got more of the same.
Most managers attempt to build a siege mentality to galvanise their players against a real or perceived injustice but problems arise within a dressing room when it’s built on sand. The forwards’ aggressive play sometimes made it hard for the hosts to play their way out.
City have lost five of their past six meetings against the Reds, having been unable to defeat them since 2014.
That proved to be that, both teams left to regret missed chances as they took a point each. The game remained locked at 0-0.
Manchester United are in fifth with 52 points, four behind Liverpool, but with two games in hand, while Arsenal and Everton, who go to Anfield for the Merseyside derby immediately after the worldwide break, are level on 50 points.
“We are a little sad because we deserved to win”.
It stayed like that until the 70th minute, Sergio Aguero sliding the equaliser into the bottom corner after a cracking low cross from de Bruyne.
But the best chances of the first period were all Liverpool’s.
“I played football for 11 years and scored 11 goals”.
“We gave them the opportunity to score and they did it”.
Aguero, who was a busy figure in the second half, saw many half chances fall his way, but he was unable to convert any of them.
After Aguero slipped and had his shot blocked, De Bruyne could only hit the post with a left foot volley as Pep Guardiola’s side cranked up the pressure in search of a victor. “But of course it’s good if you get a point in a game like this”. Yet, as even as it all ended, it was a very uneven game in terms of emotions.
The victory by Spurs ensured that Chelsea’s lead at the summit of the EPL table is back to 10 points.
The latest to be in Mourinho’s firing line are the Premier League who, it seems, have been added to a Trumpian list of “enemies” because they fixed yesterday’s United game for midday rather than tonight. Oliver said no again moments later when Georginio Wijnaldum went down as Yaya Toure dived in rashly.
In the space of four days City have to play away to sixth-placed Arsenal (April 2) and runaway leaders Chelsea (April 5).