Pep Guardiola has named four clubs who he feels could challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season, but excluded Manchester United from that list.
The 51-year-old claimed on Friday, in the first half of his press conference, that he still feels Liverpool will be the club’s closest rivals this term, despite the Reds currently 14 points off top spot. It’s Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal who are first at present, and it was a surprise to many that Guardiola named Liverpool as a bigger challenger than the Gunners.
The Catalan was asked about that in the second part of Friday’s media briefing, ahead of the clash with Liverpool, and while claiming he does see Arsenal as a contender, explained that Liverpool’s success over recent years means he cannot rule them out.
“Of course there are a few teams in front,” Guardiola said. “I think Arsenal are already there after many years [they] were not there, with the patience with Mikel [who] changed not just the team but the club. This is already a factor and they are already contenders.
“Tottenham will be there and, of course, Chelsea and all the teams, and Liverpool as well,” he added. “After what happened in the last four or five seasons I will consider them, even if Jurgen [Klopp] does not agree right now. Both I consider as a contender.
“As I said before, when it’s two months left I would say it’s maybe too late [for Liverpool]. But it’s just one part of the season, there are a lot of games to play and many things can happen. Always the Premier League is fascinating because it has many teams who challenge to be champions.
“Last season, Liverpool and ourselves, we were concentrated on this chance to be champion, but why should I ignore them right now when we are still in October? In October anyone is champion and anyone is out.”