Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri has surprisingly snubbed Liverpool for the Champions League, naming Manchester City as the team to beat in the competition this season.
Liverpool have been in scintillating form as of late, the European champions have claimed 46 points from a possible 48 in the league this season and have only one league defeat in their previous 55 matches.
The Premier League champions meanwhile, trail Jurgen Klopp’s team by a gargantuan 14 points. The Citizens have only two wins in their previous five league matches and have already dropped as many points as they had for the entirety of last season.
However, Sarri believes that Pep Guardiola’s team are still ‘favourites’ for the Champions League ahead of the current holders and league leaders Liverpool.
“I spontaneously think of Manchester City as my favourite,’ the Italian said following Juventus’ 2-0 win away to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night.
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“The impression I have got of this team has convinced me and they will probably focus more on the Champions League than on the Premier League this season.”
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Sarri’s comments are as surprising as they are premature. Anyone not taking Liverpool seriously this season could well be in for an uncomfortable experience should they meet Klopp’s European conquerors.
Liverpool are on course for their third consecutive Champions League final, whilst City have never made it past the semi-finals of the competition.
Guardiola meanwhile hasn’t featured in a European final since 2011 with Barcelona. The Catalonia manager is still yet to guide the Citizens past the quarter-finals. In that time Klopp has been in three Champions League finals.
Meanwhile, Klopp has also never lost a knockout tie during his Liverpool reign. The German manager has guided the Reds to 10 consecutive knockout-tie victories.
The FIFA Coach of the Year has transformed Liverpool into one of world football’s most formidable powerhouses. The Reds are in the form of their lives and should not be underlooked for any of Europe’s biggest prizes this season.