Rio makes Liverpool title claim as Pep ‘puts middle finger up’

Rio Ferdinand claims Pep Guardiola has “put his middle finger up” to those doubting his Manchester City team and believes they look “too comfortable” to be caught by Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently nine points behind City with a game in hand and head to the Etihad in April for what looks to be a crunch clash in the title race.

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Guardiola’s side have stormed away at the top of the table having not lost a Premier League game since the 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on October 30, winning 14 of their 15 fixtures since.

And while Ferdinand concedes that the points difference isn’t too great for Liverpool to overcome, he can’t see City dropping many points as they are “in total control”.

“Points-wise it’s not over, but I just believe that City look too comfortable in their games,” he said on his podcast.

“City look like they’re in total control all the time.

“There’s no topsy-turvey games or moments where you go ‘oh my god they’re on the ropes they’re going to get beat here’. They’re in cruise control.

“By the way, Pep Guardiola is doing this without a recognised striker in his team.

“He’s basically put his middle finger up to the whole league and all of the media who were doubting him at the beginning of the season and said ‘listen, have that and we’re going to win the league doing it as well’.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola feels the rapport between his players and staff has reached new levels.

“The harmony in this team right now is exceptional,” said Guardiola, whose side resume their latest Champions League challenge at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

“We know each other well, we accept many things for all of us and my harmony and respect with them is much better, (after) six seasons.

“We know each other perfectly and we accept the good things and the bad things, we want to fight and be part of it.”

Asked if the harmony was the best he had known since taking over at City, Guardiola said at a press conference: “Yes. This is the main target for me, to have a harmony in the team and to fight to keep it as high as possible. The players will do the rest.

“What they have between them is the most important thing, their respect for each other.

“In football the most difficult thing is that every day they are ‘enemies’, they fight for one position in the team. They are enemies in a nice sense.

“But after they have to be brothers at the weekend, and that mix is not easy to handle because everyone wants to play. So if they have respect for each other, then the rest is easy.”


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