Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted he will stay true to his attacking beliefs when the English champions visit Liverpool on Sunday despite several defeats by the Reds last season.
Guardiola saw his team beaten three times by Jurgen Klopp’s men during the 2017/18 campaign, although his side did win the fourth meeting in the league at the Etihad.
But despite Liverpool’s German boss having such a good record against his Catalan counterpart, Guardiola has insisted he will not adopt a markedly more defensive style when table-toppers City face the Reds, second only on goal difference, at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.
“We have to defend but not in the approach because it’s boring and we have to be ourselves,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“These kind of games we have to be ourselves,” he added. “If we lose then congrats to Jurgen, but we try to improve and go again.”
Kevin De Bruyne could be involved on Sunday after returning to training a month ahead of schedule.
The Belgian star has not played this season, having injured knee ligaments on the eve of the campaign.
De Bruyne was due to be sidelined for three months and, just last week, the City playmaker claimed he was targeting the first Manchester derby — in mid-November — for his comeback.
But, just eight weeks after the injury, De Bruyne is back in the squad and Guardiola will make a decision on the eve of the game whether to put him on the bench.
“He made a part of the training session today (Friday), he is training with us. We will see tomorrow,” explained Guardiola.
Bus attack concerns
Meanwhile Guardiola has called on Liverpool officials to ensure there are no repeats of the attack on City’s team bus which preceded their 3-0 Champions League quarter-final at Anfield in April.
The attack on the bus, by Liverpool supporters lining the route into Anfield, was so severe the vehicle was unable to make the return journey afterwards.
Merseyside Police failed to make an arrest following that incident but Guardiola, who was clearly angered by last season’s flashpoint, hopes Liverpool and their fans will ensure the same problem does not occur this weekend.
“Liverpool should be upset, not myself,” Guardiola said. “The police knew it before it happened, it happened, now they know it. I don’t know what is going to happen.”
To add to the potential concerns, City supporters have taken to social media and suggested that they should line the roads to Anfield in a bid to ‘protect’ their stars.
That possibility, unsurprisingly, does not appeal to Guardiola.
“I think the best way to protect the bus is down to the Liverpool fans who are there,” he said. “The best way is that when the people arrive at the stadium, going to see the football game and enjoy watching both sides, that is the best way.”
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss added: “The best way is that we should not need the police. Why should the police need to be there? For what?
“We arrive there, both sides, to play a Premier League game.
“Why should our fans have to protect our bus? Are you kidding me? Fans should be going to watch the game.
“I would like the police to go home at 4.30pm (1530 GMT) with their families, drinking a beer and loving the show, that is what they should do.
“But that depends on the Liverpool people, not on Manchester City.”