Pep Guardiola expects Liverpool Premier League title challenge next year

Pep Guardiola expects Liverpool to mount a strong Premier League title challenge next year.

Guardiola’s side have swept almost all before them during this season’s title-winning campaign but Liverpool have been them three times since the turn of the year.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have been one of only two teams to beat City in the league while they also won both legs of their Champions League quarter-final.

Liverpool have gone on to reach the final of the European competition and Guardiola thinks they can be a force in the top flight next season.

“This season they were a big contender and they will be again next season,” the City boss said.

“I will not say just Liverpool, but it’s true – Liverpool, [because of] the way they play and the quality of their players, not just up front.

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“I think [Virgil] van Dijk has helped them a lot to be more consistent in the defensive department, especially in the box, and [there is] the quality up front and the quality in the way they play.

“Jurgen is a top manager, creating not just an offensive style and not just thinking about the spectators. He’s always positive, going there and creating good environments in the clubs.

“OK, we are 25 points in front so it’s difficult to say he was difficult [to play against] in the end – but he was because they beat us. Next season will be the same, like [Manchester] United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham.”

Guardiola also confirmed City ‘keeper Joe Hart, currently on loan at West Ham, will return to the club for talks about his future.

When asked if a decision has been made over Hart’s next move, Guardiola said: “No. He is going to come back here and I think his [agent] is going to speak with the club and they’re going to decide.”