Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City's title bid hangs on Liverpool clash

English Premier League: Manchester City 3-1 Southampton

Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose

Pep Guardiola suggested Manchester City's Premier League title defence would have been over if they had not beaten Southampton, while admitting it remains precariously balanced going into Thursday's showdown with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

The two sides played each other four times last season, with Liverpool ending City's 22-match unbeaten start before knocking them out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals.

Robertson said of City, who lost successive league matches against Crystal Palace and Leicester City before beating Southampton on Sunday: "They're a fantastic team, a very experienced team and they've been in this position before".

Having topped the league for nearly the whole season, the holders have handed Liverpool the initiative in the title race in December after losing three of their last four league games.

Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes the left-back position will be a cause of concern for Manchester City when they host Liverpool on Thursday.

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has offered his predicted score ahead of Arsenal's Premier League clash with Fulham and is backing the Gunners to collect all three points. "Our pride has been hurt over the last few weeks but we have everything to play for and it depends on us".

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"I'm sure when we keep going like this we are going to be very successful".

'It's not a big issue, but I can not say if he will be able to play on Thursday'.

'Of course we hope that we win it but we know how hard it is and we know two teams (City and Tottenham), probably even more, are right behind us and causing us all sorts of problems. I know the distance is big - seven points - especially because they are so solid and consistent. This is Arsenal. They're flat-track bullies, they'll beat the lesser teams all day long.

"The difference in the Champions League [second leg] game is they [City] obviously had to win by four goals or whatever so they had to come out. We can not play that game and we don't".

"I think Manchester City will come into this game knowing that they are still unstable". We are not going to treat it different to any other.

Pep Guardiola's men regained the lead in the 45th minute, when Raheem Sterling's cut-back pass was deflected against a defender, and went in. "We need a good reaction from all the lads, that is what we will try to do at Southampton". However, if they are serious about becoming as good as their noisy neighbours and chart their own history in the history books.

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