Guardiola admits Manchester City must beat Liverpool

Pep Guardiola
conceded Manchester City's title defence will be effectively over if they do not beat Liverpool on Thursday.
City's manager labelled the Premier League
leaders the 'best team in Europe' ahead of the titanic clash at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite Sunday's victory at Southampton, Guardiola realises they cannot afford to drop any further points following two shock Christmas
'We won a lot of games but unfortunately we lost two and we have a rival who at the moment is the best team in Europe, or in the world,' Guardiola said.
'If we drop points then it is over, it is finished. It would be almost impossible. Of course they are going to drop points but not too many.
'I know the distance is big, especially because they're so solid and consistent, but we're at home, hopefully our extra help from our people at the Etihad can help, they can support us.
'(And) not just for the game, but these players deserve it. What they have done in the last 14 or 15 months, how they defend this club, is incredible, it's massive.'
Captain Vincent Kompany implored City supporters to create a cauldron as they bid to reduce the gap at the top to four points. The champions might have to do that without Kevin De Bruyne, whose muscle injury makes him a doubt after missing the win at St Mary's.
'It is one of those key games you live for,' Kompany said. 'Every living soul that comes into the stadium has to be ready to fight and give it to them, and we should be able to pull everything out of the locker for that game.'
Guardiola has spent the last few days reminding his stars of their past achievements and 'refreshing principles' after dismal displays against Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
The Catalan has placed the responsibility to improve directly on to the City squad in the hope they will react.
'We never forget who we are,' Guardiola said. 'Sometimes you have to kick your face, be a little bit stubborn, and ask: 'Guys, what happened?'
'Maybe I'm wrong but all players everywhere want to do well. They don't want to be embarrassing for their family, team-mates, friends or the club. Sometimes you need to realise that wanting to do well is not enough. You have to try it again.
'Football is a decisions game and I cannot take any decisions during 90 minutes, it's always the players. Given what they have done in this period, how can I doubt them? It's not easy after 100 points.'
Guardiola still harbours concerns about what he believes is a profligacy in front of goal. City – who have netted 54 goals in 20 games - missed a number of chances against Southampton.
'We have to score (more),' he added. 'Liverpool are not going to give us this amount of chances. We scored 106 goals last season – the best ever – but I thought we had to score more.
'In every department I think we can improve. I said that two months ago when everybody said how beautiful and how handsome we were.' 

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