(Reuters) – Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola considers Liverpool among the best sides he has faced in his managerial career with the two clubs set to fight for the Premier League title on the final day of the season.
Liverpool have a two-point lead over the defending champions but Guardiola’s men have a game in hand and meet Leicester City at home later on Monday.
Liverpool have lost only once in the league this season and are also in the Champions League semi-finals, and Guardiola mentioned Juergen Klopp’s side in the same breath as Barcelona’s 2014-15 treble-winning team.
“In my career as a manager, I played against incredible sides,” Guardiola told The Telegraph. “There are two that were, ‘Wow’. One is Barcelona with Luis Enrique, with Neymar, (Lionel) Messi and (Luis) Suarez up front.
“The other is this Liverpool. I think they’re the best two sides I’ve faced as a manager. That’s why, arriving at this stage… after 100 points (last season), is the most satisfaction I’ve had as a manager.”
Guardiola also praised his squad’s resilience to claw their way back into the title race when they found themselves seven points behind the league leaders in January.
“When you’re seven points behind, you could have said, ‘It’s done’ and just think, ‘We did it last season’,” Guardiola added. “We did the opposite of that.
“The difference is Liverpool. We did the same job (as last season). It’s incredible what we have done, but it will make more sense if we are able to lift the Premier League.”
The Spaniard, who had previously managed Barcelona and Bayern Munich, said the English top flight was the toughest league he had managed in.
“It’s the toughest league I’ve ever played as a manager, for the quality from the rivals, no doubt,” Guardiola said.
“That’s why being there is incredible but, of course, only one will take the prize and the other one will be at home sad.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)