Liverpool looked poised to leapfrog City into third place after James Milner silenced the boos from fans of his former club to give the visitors the lead with a penalty early in the second half. Sergio Aguero netted a 69th-minute equaliser in a gripping 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday to prevent Manchester City losing ground in the battle for a top-four Premier League finish.
But Aguero’s strike kept City a point above their rivals, who have played a game more, and provided a moment of solace after their mid-week Champions League elimination at Monaco’s hands. “After the Champions League, the last few days at training people were so, so, sad. People don’t talk too much,” Guardiola said.
“We arrive here against Liverpool, who have no Europe all season and one week to prepare. The spirit, how we played, it is one of my happiest days as a manager.”
Guardiola had come in for criticism after City’s 3-1 loss at Stade Louis II, but his side will approach back-to-back trips to Arsenal and Chelsea on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run in the league. While Jurgen Klopp failed to become the first manager to do a league double over Guardiola, his Liverpool team are now unbeaten in 10 games against their fellow top-six sides this season.
“To get a point at Manchester City for each team in the world is absolutely OK,” said the Liverpool manager. “They deserved the goal, but we could have scored more. Two highly motivated sides, both wanted to win until the last seconds.” A rain-slicked pitch and two attack-minded teams made for a furious first half at the Etihad Stadium, characterised by City possession and Liverpool counter-attacks.