Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he and his players are ready for this weekend’s big test away to Liverpool in the Premier League.
City would hope to continue their impressive run in the league when they visit Anfield.
Guardiola’s side are still unbeaten after 22 league games this season with 20 wins and two draws.
They thrashed 10-man Liverpool 5-0 in the reverse fixture at the Etihad early in the season.
“It’s a real test going to Anfield, one of the most prestigious stadiums in the world. It’s a big game for us and we are going to plan as much as possible,” Guardiola said in his press conference on Friday.
“If you want to win titles you have to win these kind of games. This season we have done that but we still have to go to Anfield and to Tottenham. But Liverpool vs City is so important to realise again, if we are able to do big things in this season.”
Guardiola played down City’s poor record at Anfield, where they have not won in years.
“I don’t believe in this kind of thing but in 45 years we have won twice so that means a lot, in terms of how hard it is to play there. The records are there to be broken.”
He went on to praise Jurgen Klopp for his impact at Liverpool, stating that the purchase of Virgil van Dijk would make the Reds very tough.
“Jurgen is a guy who always tries to play on the front foot, with no fear. I think it will be a good game,” Guardiola added.
“Hopefully we can do better than last season. That is our target, and to show courage. This kind of game shows your mentality.
“We are facing them in their best moment. With Van Dijk they are even better.”
Commenting on the kind of reception former Red Raheem Sterling would get from Liverpool fans, Guardiola said: “It’s not the first time he’s been back. He’s more mature, and of course he has to be calm and play the game he has to play.”
On injury news concerning Vincent Kompany and Gabriel Jesus, Guardiola said:
“I think Vincent is not ready but the others are doing quite well.
“Gabriel was in Barcelona yesterday with Dr Cugat. I think he could be ready in two or three weeks for Basel in the Champions League.”
And on rumours that Alexis Sanchez could join City this transfer window, he said:
“I am focused on the game against Liverpool. If I was my players I wouldn’t want my manager talking about other things.”