‘Draw with Liverpool one of my most special days’

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‘Liverpool draw one of the most special days of my life’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his side’s performance in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool gave him “one of the most special days in his life”.

Guardiola has won two Champions Leagues, six domestic titles and four cups in his stellar career.

But he said he took as much pleasure from the way City responded to the “sadness” of their midweek Champions League exit in Monaco.

“I am so proud,” he said. “This is one of the most special days of my life.”

He added: “We lived a tough two days after being out of Champions League. We were sad.

“Liverpool had all week to prepare and they always fight until the last moment.

“That is why I am so happy. More than ever I am willing to help the club take the next step forward over the next years if they want to stay with me.”

The 46-year-old refused to say whether that meant he would be prepared to extend his contract, which still has over two years to run.

His side had to respond after falling behind to James Milner’s 51st-minute penalty.

Aguero equalised on 69 minutes when he turned home Kevin de Bruyne’s low right-wing cross from six yards.

It was the Argentina forward’s 25th goal of the season and Aguero could have had another in the final minute when he volleyed over from the edge of the area.

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Sergio Aguero has scored in all five games he has played against Liverpool at Etihad Stadium

City captain David Silva and makeshift right-back Fernandinho wasted good opportunities, although none was as good as the chance Adam Lallana missed 10 minutes from time after Roberto Firmino left him with only goalkeeper Willy Caballero to beat.

‘With all his mistakes, I love Stones’

Former Everton defender John Stones produced one of his best performances since his £47.5m move to City last summer.

But Guardiola insists he has never lost faith in the 22-year-old Yorkshireman.

“John Stones has more personality than anyone in this room,” Guardiola told a post-match media briefing.

“I am delighted to have him. He has been under pressure. The people criticise him. But it is not easy to play central defence with this manager. I don’t want long balls and passes down the channel. I want him 40 metres back to build up the play.

“With all his huge amount of mistakes, I love him.”

Klopp amused by emotional Pep

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was amused by his counterpart’s comments on the significance of City’s performance.

Klopp said: “He is Spanish. They are a little bit more emotional than Germans.”

But the Reds boss could offer no explanation for Lallana’s miss and defended the England international, who apologised in the dressing room.

Klopp said: “Adam is one of the best technical players I ever worked with.

“These things can happen. He said sorry afterwards. I said why? His performance was outstanding.”

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The top-four battle goes on

The result did not make a major difference to the battle to finish in the top four.

City are now two points behind second-placed Tottenham, with Liverpool a point further back in fourth, having played a game more.

Manchester United are in fifth with 52 points, four behind Liverpool, but with two games in hand, while Arsenal and Everton, who go to Anfield for the Merseyside derby immediately after the international break, are level on 50 points.

Klopp said: “We are still in a battle and our next game is not only a derby, it is a really important game.

“There is one outstanding side this year. All the rest must fight with everything they have until the end of season.”

Analysis

Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer

Both Manchester City and Liverpool had big chances to win it but a draw was probably a fair result. City could not afford to lose this game, partly after what happened against Monaco. They needed a reaction and performance

I am not sure it is Pep Guardiola’s proudest performance after what he achieved as a coach and player. He was pleased with the commitment and passion of his players. It was a strange thing to say.

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