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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has already started his Champions League mind games - claiming Liverpool are a 'pain in the ass' and joking last season was a 'f**king failure' for his side.
City thrashed Sporting CP 5-0 in the first leg of their last 16 tie on Tuesday to all but guarantee passage into the quarter-finals.
Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and a Bernardo Silva brace cemented City's status as favourites for the competition.
Guardiola thinks Jurgen Klopp's men are a big challenger however and when asked who could beat City, he told CBS Sports: "Liverpool."
Pep Guardiola on who can stop them:— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) February 15, 2022
“Liverpool. Liverpool are always a pain in the ass.” pic.twitter.com/zMkxSNKOKs
"They are six points behind us [in the Premier League]. They’ve been our biggest rivals in the past few seasons and are always there – a pain in the ass, all the time! They are a fantastic team in Europe."
Liverpool knocked City out of the Champions League in 2018 and won the Premier League title in 2020 to break their dominance of English football.
It didn't stop there though. Guardiola went straight into his press conference and dropped some more truth bombs.
Despite the millions City have spent since his arrival, they've never managed to win Europe's elite competition.
They were defeated by Chelsea in last year's final and Guardiola admits the result left him feeling empty, despite a Premier League and Carabao Cup win that campaign.
"We make almost, almost, the perfect Champions League last season," the 51-year-old admitted.
"We played 13/14 games and won 12, And we lost the final, and it was 'what a f***ing failure is this team', but it's not true! We made a perfect Champions League. But we didn't perform in the final like we normally do."
Last season's finalists opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Mahrez turned home a Kevin De Bruyne cutback.
Silva grabbed his first of the game with a wicked volley that crashed in off the bar.
💥 Bernardo Silva 💥— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 15, 2022
He's slammed the ball home right on the half-volley! A tricky technique made to look so easy... 🤤
Man City are flying! pic.twitter.com/va3h6S9T4c
Mahrez turned provider just past the half hour mark when Foden got on the scoresheet.
Portugal midfielder Silva got his second just before halftime as City ran rampant.
The former Monaco man was denied his hat-trick by VAR but Sterling turned home a fifth in the 58th minute.
Both sides will meet at the Etihad on March 9 and it's likely to be a formality.
Featured Image Credit: CBS Sports & Football Daily
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