Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists Manchester City remain as dangerous as ever despite the worst week in Pep Guardiola’s 18 months at the club.
A 3-0 defeat in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield last week was followed by a 3-2 loss in the Manchester derby as United came back from 2-0 down at half-time.
However, despite Liverpool being favourites to progress in the return leg at the Etihad Stadium, Klopp has not seen much to change his opinion of how good a team they will face tonight.
Asked if he thought City were more vulnerable, the German said: “No, I didn’t think anything like that. They had a fantastic season but they are human beings, thank God. They had two results which maybe no-one really expected.
“United were lucky: first half [City] could have scored five or six and United did have a week before the game and City made a few changes.
“When we lost here 5-0 at the beginning of the season, everybody saw the quality of City even when we were one man down, the preparation for the season, signings, the best coach in the world.
“It is clear they would be outstanding but there is no perfect football team in the world. The game doesn’t give you the chance to be perfect. I don’t think Barcelona think they are already through against Roma [whom they lead 4-1] because that is football, you have always the chance to respond and to strike back.
“City has the chance to. Most of the people think Liverpool will go through but will lose the game. We have the chance to win.”
Liverpool’s chances of doing that will be enhanced if 38-goal forward Mohamed Salah is fit. The Egypt international’s groin problem was rested for Saturday’s Merseyside derby but he returned to light training on Sunday, also took part in last night’s session at Melwood and is in contention for a return.
“He was yesterday with the athletic coach training,” added Klopp. “We have to wait for the reaction tomorrow and we will make a decision.”
In his pre-match briefing yesterday, Guardiola said his “extraordinary” and “exceptional” City side will not give up in their quest to overturn the odds against Liverpool.
“I know I will be judged on results but the performances – my team is extraordinary. My team is not comparable to many others. It is top. My team is exceptional,” he insisted.
“Of course to go through you have to make almost the perfect game, to create a lot of chances, be clinical, concede few chances. And the chances we are going to face, our keeper needs to save them. All the conditions have to be perfect to go through.
“But we cannot forget it is a simple game – just focus on every single minute. That is the best way to play. If we concede a goal, don’t give up.
“It’s a good test. Football is a challenge like life, we are happy to handle it.”
Guardiola is not expecting any repeat of the crowd trouble which saw the City team bus attacked by Liverpool fans ahead of the first leg.
Asked if he was worried about City fans potentially seeking revenge, Guardiola said: “Since I have been here it has never happened in the Etihad Stadium. People and opponents arrive in the bus in the right way.
“It is not going to happen. I think the police will know exactly what they have to do.”