Contrary to what many have said and some have written, the title race is not yet over. Pep Guardiola is a very experienced manager and is well aware of that.
The team with the most realistic chance of catching Manchester City is Liverpool, and after going neck-in-neck in the last few seasons as far as the title race is concerned, the clubs' managers know each other well enough.
There is a mutual respect between the two managers that ensures no one takes the other for granted as that can lead to regrets.
Despite dominating the Premier League and winning league titles back-to-back, Guardiola has also seen Liverpool trump his team to win both the league and Champions League trophies.
The strength of the team also means that Liverpool can still spring a surprise. If some key results do not go City’s way in the next couple of months, things could take a dramatic downturn.
After seeing Liverpool collect 99 points to win the title two years ago and 97 in 2019 to finish as runners-up, Guardiola has enough warning.
Klopp’s side can still reach 96 points this season and Guardiola believes City will have to keep winning to ensure there’s no imminent collapse in the title race.
“We have made an incredible run in the Premier League — 14 games, 13 victories and one draw, that is fantastic,” Guardiola stated before facing Brentford.
“And Liverpool are still there around the corner, that shows how good our opponent is.
“If we want to fight to win the Premier League, we will have to win an incredible amount of points against these opponents that we have faced in the last seasons many times. There is no doubt about that.
“The margin to Liverpool is nothing. We have to win a lot of games — a lot — with many points, more than 90 points, to arrive at 95 or 96, to be champions. I’m pretty sure of that, definitely.”
Although City have a good chance of retaining their title and are the favorites in many people’s minds right now, Guardiola is not leaving any stone unturned.
He knows that it is not over until it’s over. A nine or six-point gap could still be closed. So the City boss is constantly reminding his players that there is still a lot to do and many things to be corrected.
“Never a team will be perfect,” he said. “We are not perfect, we are far away from being perfect because as human beings we are imperfect.
“Perfection doesn’t exist in sports, especially in football, which is not an individual sport. Many things can be adjusted.”
City still have some difficult games to face in the next two months and dropping the guard can lead to negative consequences.
That is what makes Guardiola’s approach so important as this will keep the players on their toes to fight until they reach the finish line.
With the addition of Luis Diaz to their front line, the Reds have been fortified even more. That means they will push hard in the next two months to overtake City in the race.
As it stands, the title is City’s to lose. So the team will have to maintain the momentum and consistency that has seen it set the standard for excellence.
That way even if Klopp’s men secure 96 points this season, it will still not be enough to catch the Blues.