Football

Man City boss Guardiola says tie not over despite 3-0 Anfield loss

Man City boss insists his team did well in 3-0 loss, and can't be written off

For Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, hope springs eternal.

Despite the 3-0 defeat by Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Anfield yesterday morning (Singapore time), he said that his team "did really well".

Asked if it was game-over during the post-match media conference, he said his side are still capable of turning around the first-leg deficit.

All they need, he stressed, is some convincing.

Three first-half goals in Merseyside left the English Premier League's runaway leaders reeling and although they regained their composure in the second half, their failure to score an away goal could prove to be decisive.

"In this room, I think there is nobody except the guy talking to you who believes we can go through," Guardiola told reporters.

"There are 90 minutes more, we are going to try. I believe a lot in this team. They show me many good things in the season," said the Spaniard, whose team can clinch the Premier League title with a win over Manchester United this Sunday morning.

"We have 90 minutes, all of us (in the competition), Sevilla, Juventus and us. We are going to try. It is so complicated because we are going to play a top, top team. Now it is tough," he added.

Guardiola's players looked shell-shocked after goals from Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane put the home side 3-0 up inside 31 minutes.

Such was Liverpool's first-half dominance that the Spanish coach may need more than positive talk to get his squad back in the right frame of mind to take on Juergen Klopp's side at the Etihad in next Wednesday morning's return leg.

"Nobody believes we will go through. We will convince ourselves tomorrow," said the three-time Champions League winner, once as a player and twice as a coach of Barcelona.

Guardiola altered his normal formation and left Raheem Sterling on the bench, with midfielder Ilkay Guendogan brought into the starting line-up.

That seemed to contradict his pre-match promise that his team would not change their attacking approach despite their January loss at Anfield in the league.

He said he had made the switch in order to have more control of midfield possession but when asked if the tactical change had worked, the Spaniard was blunt.

He said: "We lost 3-0."

Tactics and selection aside, City were simply blown away by Liverpool's swift, direct attacks, although Guardiola thought the hosts had only a limited period of dominance.

"Did we arrive here a little bit scared? We arrived with a huge personality. Except 10-15 minutes in the first half when we lost a bit of control... from my point of view, we did really well," he said.

"Here at Anfield, it is always complicated. Until 2-0, we were there. In the second half, we reacted. We did well.

"We could not create chances because they defended deep but we were there for the last pass. We needed one goal and we couldn't score it," he said. - REUTERS

Football