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Guardiola urges Man City to be ‘clinical’ as he expects to ‘suffer’ against ‘exceptional’ Liverpool

Pep Guardiola has urged Manchester City to be ‘clinical’ against Liverpool and says he expects his side to ‘suffer’ against the champions this weekend.

Guardiola’s side welcome Liverpool to the Etihad on Sunday in a crunch clash between the two title favourites, with former seeking a vital victory as they bid to close the gap to the league leaders.

City will be hoping to continue their recent form and have won five of their previous six fixtures in all competitions, including three consecutive wins and clean sheets following Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Olympiakos.

The visitors, however, head into the contest top of the division after taking 16 points from their opening seven league fixtures, and they will arrive in confident mood of their own following a 5-0 thrashing of Atalanta in the Champions League in midweek.

The two sides have enjoyed an ever-increasing rivalry in recent seasons with both clubs in direct competition for major honours, and Guardiola insists he is well aware City must be at their best in an ‘important game’ for his side.

“It’s an important game, but like the US Presidential Election, all the votes must count. There’s a lot of games to play,” Guardiola said at the pre-match press conference, after confirming Sergio Aguero is ‘not ready’ to play.

“It’s always nice to play against the strongest teams possible. Last year Liverpool were stronger. They have been an exceptional team for a long time, with an exceptional manager.

“It is nice to face them to improve our level. We know how good we need to be to beat them.”

City have enjoyed a strong recent record at home to Liverpool in the Premier League and are unbeaten in the last four meetings at the Etihad, though Guardiola believes his side will ‘suffer’ in moments of Sunday’s clash with the Reds, and has called on his side to be ‘clinical’ against the champions.

“When you play against teams like Liverpool you always have moments where you have to suffer,” he said.

“We’ll try to use it to our strengths as much as possible. We have played each other many times. There will be up and down moments. We need to take our chances and be clinical.”

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