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Pep Guardiola points finger at officials after Manchester City's Champions League exit

12 April, 2018, 00:33 | Author: John Swanson
  • Liverpool

Mohamed Salah booked Liverpool's place in the last four for the first time in a decade when he coolly chipped home his 39th goal of the season 11 minutes into the second half before Roberto Firmino inflicted a third consecutive defeat on City for the first time in Guardiola's near two-year reign.

Guardiola admitted beforehand that his side needed the "perfect" performance and the hosts got the ideal start as they opened the scoring after just 117 seconds.

"I really think they are the best team in the world at the moment but I knew we could beat them".

"We only can develop".

But a defence which is good enough to win the Premier League is clearly not good enough for the Champions League and he must address this urgently.

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And a different Liverpool emerged for the second half, with their increased attacking intent being rewarded when Salah produced a classy dink to draw them level on the night shortly before the hour mark.

"I've said many times that I play for the team and I try to score each game to try to help the team to win the games".

"Last season it was the round of 16, this season it's the quarter finals, hopefully next season we can go to the semi-finals".

Yet, for all the pressure, Liverpool's defence held firm and City were unable to create another clear-cut chance until the 40th minute when Bernardo Silva cut in from the right and his fierce left-foot drive crashed off the post.

"The regret is definitely the first six or seven games of the season in the Premier League", added Lovren.

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"It is impossible to do that, to play the way we play, the results we achieved, without top players".

Klopp, who guided Borussia Dortmund to the 2013 Champions League final where they lost to bitter German rivals Bayern Munich, says it is far too early to claim Liverpool can be the equals of European giants Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

"But whoever we get will find it hard to come to Anfield and score some goals".

I wondered after the first game whether Klopp's visibly more defensive set-up in the second-half hinted at a shift towards a greater balance in his approach but within three minutes of this one, Jesus made that question irrelevant.

"Realistically, after knocking out Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate, you would now put Jurgen Klopp's side as second favourites behind Real to win the tournament - well, I would anyway".

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The Red Devils were abysmal in the first period but two goals from Paul Pogba followed by Smalling's victor spared their blushes. City's Champions League hopes were likely ended by conceding three times in 19 minutes at Anfield in midweek.

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