Football

Rodri: Manchester City can still catch Liverpool

Spanish midfielder believes they can do so by winning all their remaining games

Having secured top spot of their Champions League group with a game to spare, Manchester City are shifting focus to the domestic front.

City, who are in the knockout stage for the seventh straight season after a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk yesterday morning (Singapore time), can afford to rest players for their final group match at Dinamo Zagreb on Dec 11.

"Now we have one competition already done, and now our focus will be the Premier League until we arrive in the cups," said Pep Guardiola, after Ilkay Guendogan's goal was cancelled out by Manor Solomon at the Etihad.

City are third in the English Premier League, nine points behind leaders Liverpool, but midfielder Rodri believes the two-time champions can still regain top spot - by winning all their remaining games.

Asked if the gap can be cut, Rodri said: "Of course. There are a lot of matches and let's see what happens.

"We will go on every pitch and do our best and always want three points. Nine points from the leaders - if we want to fight for this Premier League, we have to win all the games.

"Of course it's so important to do your homework, you have to think about the next ones and the next matches are so important. They are finals for us."

City face Newcastle United on Saturday, with Liverpool hosting Brighton & Hove Albion.

Meanwhile, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said they want to keep Guardiola at the helm for many years to come.

The Spaniard, who took over at City in 2016, guided them to successive league titles and an unprecedented domestic treble last term.

His contract ends in 2021, but he said last week that he is hoping to stay longer.

Al Mubarak said Guardiola was much more than just a great manager and he would like him to remain at the club for a long time to come.

"Pep has been an incredible asset to this organisation," Al Mubarak told Sky Sports.

"We can speak about his managerial accomplishments for hours but, as a person, as an individual, as a friend, he's been a core part of what we've accomplished here over the last three years...

"So I'm very satisfied with his commitment and our commitment to him and I'm looking forward to the continuity of this for years to come."

Al Mubarak is also confident that Guardiola can turn the tables on Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

"In Pep, we have a leader who has shown time and time again his ability to continuously evolve and continuously challenge," he said.

"We've been in this position not once but many times before, and we've shown the character always consistently to come back." - AP, AFP

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