City's Guardiola focused on Olympiakos clash, not on Liverpool
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he will pick his strongest side to face Greek champions Olympiakos in the Champions League on Tuesday (Nov 3), despite facing domestic rivals Liverpool in the English Premier League five days later.
Illness and injuries to key first-team players means City are sitting 10th in the league standings with 11 points from six matches, representing Guardiola’s worst start to a season in his coaching career.
City, however, are in pole position to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages after winning their opening two Group C matches against Porto and Marseille.
When asked if the Liverpool game would come into his selection thoughts, Guardiola said: “Absolutely not. You cannot make a false step in the Champions League because after that you struggle. We know to qualify, we have to secure three home games and win at least one away.
“After winning the first two games against Porto and Marseille, now we have another chance tomorrow against Olympiakos to leave them behind. This is the target.”
Guardiola was unsure whether injured striker Sergio Aguero will recover in time for the home match against Liverpool on Sunday, but said the Argentinian striker should be in contention after the international break this month.
Aguero suffered a hamstring injury against West Ham United last month after starting three consecutive games following a lengthy absence with a knee problem.
“We don’t want him to have a setback, but he’s getting better,” Guardiola said.
Gabriel Jesus is also recovering from a muscle injury and will undergo a fitness test before Guardiola decides whether the Brazilian forward can feature against Olympiakos.
“He (Jesus) is better and did one session with the team,” Guardiola said.
“We are happy he is back, but we are also happy with Ferran (Torres) playing there too.” – REUTERS