Pep Guardiola: John Stones has "more balls" than anyone

"They are such good team, changing sides with runners everywhere, and they are all sharp".

Pep Guardiola seemed incredibly happy with the way Manchester City played against Liverpool on Sunday, especially after their exit from the Champions League earlier in the week. "It is one of the days I am proud of the most".

"Give me a few hours and then I'm happy", he said.

Though Guardiola may opt to sell some of his players at the end of the campaign, a number of stars such as Yaya Toure and Bacary Sagna are out of contract as of June and will be free to leave.

City were beginning to look heavy-legged after the break and Clichy's desperate defending led to Liverpool's goal - despite protests that he got a touch on the ball.

"He helped us a lot this game, he played a good game, intercepted a lot of balls, so there is no point in blaming him".

A rain-slicked pitch and two attack-minded teams made for a furious first half at the Etihad Stadium, characterised by City possession and Liverpool counter-attacks.

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It seems the message did not get through, though, as they found themselves 2-0 down after just seven minutes. We knew we were coming on the back of an terrible away record and we wanted to try and put that right.

But Guardiola, who has won 40 major honours in a glittering career as a player and manager, repeatedly insisted this result, four days after City were dumped out of the Champions League in Monaco, was comparable to anything that has gone before. "Two highly motivated sides, both wanted to win until the last seconds".

"They deserved the goal, but we could have scored more". 'To achieve the top targets, you have to be more clinical. I think we would all have accepted that before the game. "They have to sit and analyse why this amount of things happen, not [just] in Manchester City games but in all the games", he added.

De Bruyne then hit the post from 10 yards after Aguero slipped while attempting to finish off a fine move inside the area, before Liverpool missed a sitter of their own through Lallana, who fluffed his effort from Firmino's centre with just Caballero to beat eight yards out.

Liverpool trails third-placed City by just one point, although Pep Guardiola's side have a game in hand.

Liverpool supporters will argue that, on the balance of their play, they deserve to be higher up the table.

Jurgen Klopp's side have developed a odd habit of turning up regularly for the so-called "big games" while they have struggled on several occasions against opposition that most would consider beatable.

But the best chances of the first period were all Liverpool's. I would go as far as saying he set a new low in the standards of officials in this league.

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