Pep Guardiola prefers Manchester City fixture congestion to Liverpool’s FA Cup exit

Liverpool’s FA Cup exit reduces their fixture list but Pep Guardiola would rather Manchester City are “in all four competitions as far as possible”.

City play Burton Albion in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, in the first of three cup fixtures this month, alongside three more Premier League games.

Liverpool, already out of the league cup, will play just three more fixtures in January, all in the Premier League.

“I don’t know [if fewer games gives Liverpool an advantage] – I don’t have a theory from my experience about that,” Guardiola said.

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“If everyone is fit and not injured we can cope with it. The problem is if you have 10 injured players, then it’s almost impossible.

“I prefer it [being involved in four competitions], definitely. I like to be in the four competitions as far as possible. When Wigan put us out of the FA Cup last season I was sad. I take the cups seriously.

“I’m not involved in what my opponents do. The reality for Jurgen [Klopp] is he knows exactly what happened.

If Liverpool want to play quick, we want to play quicker, so never we manipulated.

Guardiola denies ‘turf war’

“Of course you need a big squad – without quality you can’t even win one trophy. With the quality and amount of players we have, you can do it, because the team is always stable.”

City reduced the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to just four points after beating Klopp’s side at the Etihad last week.

But Guardiola laughed off suggestions on social media that City had instructed their groundstaff to let the grass grow longer than normal to disrupt the pace of Liverpool’s attacking trio, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

“I never did, if Liverpool want to play quick, we want to play quicker, so never we manipulated,” he said. “Normally when this kind of thing happens, always at the end, karma or something like that, punishes you.

“I trust the greenkeepers, but we put the grass in the best conditions for both teams. Never I made a phone call to one to say, ‘Do this kind of thing to damage our opponents’.”

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