Premier League

City's Guardiola says title rivals Liverpool have no excuses

Liverpool's tough schedule is no boost to Manchester City, according to Pep Guardiola, who views a 100-point season as the new benchmark.

Guardiola says title rivals Liverpool have no excuses

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola thinks still being involved in the Champions League will not hinder Liverpool during the closing stages of the Premier League title race.

Champions League, you're having a laugh

City have narrowed their focus on completing a domestic treble since they were knocked out of Europe earlier this month and know victories in each of their remaining three league games will be enough to finish top of the table again.

Burnley, Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion are the obstacles left for the champions to clear and Guardiola will have ample time to prepare his players for the final two fixtures without any further Champions League commitments.

An impending two-legged battle with Barcelona denies Liverpool the same luxury, with the prospect of five games (starting with Huddersfiled on Friday night) in just over two weeks potentially prohibitive to the challengers' hopes of pipping City.

Guardiola, though, would welcome such a burden, referencing the Anfield club's warm-weather training camps in January and February as more valuable than additional rest in April and May.

"To be involved in the Champions League semi-finals, you are not tired. You don't feel any pain, nothing," Guardiola said.

"That is a better position to be in, to be in Liverpool's position and to be in the semi-finals.

"Regarding the toughest months of this competition - in December, January, February - and they have two weeks in training camps, [while] we have to be here and playing every three days, that is a big advantage for the opponent."

Bolt, Tiger and Nicklaus

Liverpool could finish second with as many as 97 points if both teams win their remaining league games between now and the end of the campaign.

It is a tough reality that Guardiola says genuine title contenders must embrace.

"The people know that before [last season] you have to be close to 90 points and now you have to be close to 100," he said.

"We helped Liverpool to achieve that and Liverpool help us to maintain this level.

"It's like when Usain Bolt makes a 100 metres race - that's the standard, other people have to achieve it. Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, that's the standard, it's the same.

"One hundred points in a season, if you want to compete you have to do that."