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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola explains ‘provocative’ celebration in Premier Legaue clash with Liverpool

Title holders City remain eight points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal despite a handsome 4-1 victory over Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Title holders City remain eight points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal despite a handsome 4-1 victory over Jürgen Klopp’s side.
JASON CAIRNDUFFAction Images via Reuters

No change at the top of the Premier League table as Manchester City and Arsenal both posted 4-1 home victories over Liverpool and Leeds United respectively on Saturday, which means the Gunners remain eight points clear having played an extra game. City’s dismantling of Jürgen Klopp’s men, still one of the division’s elite sides even though they are not having a vintage season, was especially impressive and saw Pep Guardiola register a 100th home win in charge in just 128 matches, a new record.

However, as well as receiving plenty of plaudits post-match, the former Barcelona coach was also grilled on his controversial celebration of his team’s equaliser, a superbly worked goal scored by Julián Álvarez, just before the half-hour mark after Mohamed Salah had earlier put Liverpool ahead.

How did Guardiola celebrate Julián Álvarez’s equaliser?

In the immediate aftermath of the goal, Guardiola ran towards the home fans beyond the dugouts, jumped and punched the air, as he often does. However, on this occasion, he stopped in his tracks, fist-pumped and exchanged words with opposing substitute Kostas Tsimikas, before patting the Greek, who awkwardly smiled, in the midriff. A grinning Guardiola then approached Arthur Melo, another Liverpool sub, and shook hands with the Brazilian, who also happened to be walking past the Spaniards’ technical area.

Both players were incredibly good-natured in their response to Guardiola’s actions, which took some onlookers by surprise, including former Manchester United Rio Ferdinand, who was covering the game for UK broadcaster BT Sport: “”That celebration there, I don’t know how Tsimikas hasn’t pushed the opposing manager Guardiola out the way”.

Guardiola explains his celebration post-match

Guardiola was asked about the incident by different journalists in his post-match press conference and was first asked whether his celebration was an attempt at humour: “Yes, of course. I was happy and I said how nice was our goal. That’s all.”

However, a second reporter went back in for more and suggested that the Spaniard had overstepped the mark in getting in Tsimikas and Melo’s faces. Guardiola’s final response was as sarcastic as his initial celebration was bizarre. This is how that second exchange went:

Q: It was pretty provocative, you were right in Tsimikas’ face, was there some sort of argument before then?

A: Come on. I’m so sorry. Speak with Julián Álvarez, speak with Tsimikas and ask him if I lacked respect. I celebrate the goal. I said, ‘the goal was nice, isn’t it?’ That’s all. You think it’s a lack of respect?

Q: I thought it was a bit, yes.

A: Ah OK, sorry.

Guardiola’s City breaking records and reaching miletsones

As well as reaching 100 Premier League home victories in fewer other games than any other manager in history, Ilkay Gündogan’s goal, which made it 3-1, means City have scored 1,000 goals in Guardiola’s time in charge. They have found the net on well over 100 occasions each season since the ex-Barça coach took over at the Etihad in summer 2016.