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If you ask me’ – What Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and other managers have said about Liverpool this season

The Reds have been in the thick of the action already this season despite not everything going their way.

The opening month of the season has been a fairly eventful one for Liverpool, to say the least.


The Reds have endured a slow start to the new campaign, picking up just two wins and nine points from their opening six games to leave them five points off Manchester City and six short of Arsenal at the top.


Jurgen Klopp’s side have already played two of their most fierce rivals – drawing at Everton and losing against Manchester United – and snatched a last-gasp winner against Newcastle United, sparking wild celebrations in the stands and a feisty clash between the two dugouts.

Meanwhile, the likes of Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte have gone about their own business, but not without the Reds very much visible in the rear-view mirror. Guardiola’s City are favourites to win the title again this year, while Conte’s Spurs are early dark horses for a challenge, but both remain fully aware that Klopp’s side will find their feet and push them – and the title race – to the wire.

Here’s what they and other Premier League managers have had to say about Liverpool so far this season.


Pep Guardiola


“(It matters) a lot. Just the 111 points to play,” Guardiola sarcastically replied when asked about his four-point lead over the Reds in August. “It’s very early days. I’m sorry but after two fixtures we can not make any plans about the future. We play Newcastle. Respect to all the other teams we will try to improve our game and win the game.


“It’s just two Premier League games. We have a long way to training, we start the next month we try to improve our principles, our game. The best way to see that is in the games. First two games really good. Now we have to continue that game.

Liverpool is not my business. This is Manchester City.”


Antonio Conte


“We know that in England it is difficult to fight to win but we want to try to be competitive, to try to improve on last season and that is our target. If you ask me about [Manchester] City or Liverpool, my answer is we are talking about two of the best clubs in the world that are working with the same coaches for seven years.


“Now they are in my opinion in a position that is very difficult for the others to close the gap but we have to do this. Also because to catch City and Liverpool, you have to spend £100million for six players, they go and spend that for one player or two players £100million and this is the difference.


“You have to run behind and they stay in front of you but you know very well they deserve to stay there because they work very well to have the same coach and to back the coach, Klopp, Guardiola and (Thomas) Tuchel and they deserve this.


To become a strong team you need to have stability and a vision. The idea has to be very clear and then you will see you go step by step and try to reduce this gap.”


Eddie Howe


“Of course we refute it,” Howe said of the time-wasting claims after Liverpool beat Newcastle United 2-1. “If you look at just the pure physical side, we had one day less recovery and then we are playing at Anfield. Our players gave everything physically.


“Liverpool had an extra day and of course the conditions of the game. It was a bit bitty in the second half with substitutions and there was certainly no gamesmanship on our side. That’s just the way the game went.


““That is their opinion. I’m not concerned by their opinion. We know what we were trying to do. We were trying to win the game. I’ve given reasons as to why there were stoppages.


“Nick Pope went down twice, the first time he was feeling a bit dizzy, the second time, I think he fell on his back. I’m not sure there’s a lot we can do there.”


Erik Ten Hag


Speaking after his Manchester United side beat Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford, Ten Hag said: “The spirit was already good, but now it’s even better, it’s clear. It’s only one game so we have to build further on, we have to develop and I think everyone is aware of that.


“It helps of course. I said before the game Liverpool is, especially last year, the best playing football team for me in the world and when you beat them it must give you a lot of confidence.”


Marco Silva


“No, it didn’t feel like a victory,” The Fulham boss said when asked if the opening weekend 2-2 draw felt like a win. “It felt like a draw. But I think we deserved more from the game than a point.


“Liverpool had more control in the second half but I think that our organisation and our great, great first half – they have the individual quality to create chances – was almost perfect. The way we started and the intensity we had was really good and I have to congratulate our fans and our players, it was a great atmosphere.


“We know how Liverpool are aggressive when they attack the space behind and we controlled those moments in the first half. They are not just really good with the ball, they are really aggressive in the right way without the ball and we matched them from the first to the last minute of the game.”


Patrick Vieira


“We are really happy with a point,” the Crystal Palace boss said after their 1-1 draw with the Reds. “Overall I think Liverpool had the chances, we had a couple of good ones. But I’m happy with the point.


It’s not easy to stay calm here. With the crowd and the atmosphere we managed the situation really well. We needed to be calm and concentrated on what we wanted to do and we did that.


“Our plan was executed by the players. We didn’t show any kind of frustration. We remained calm and composed and we made it really difficult for them. The first 15-20 minutes was a bit challenging with the runs behind our back line but we managed to defend that quite well.”

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