Pep Guardiola admits 'Liverpool are better' as he talks title race

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has named Liverpool outright when talking about the Premier League title race. Are the Reds actually better?

Manchester City played their 19th fixture of the Premier League season on Saturday, marking the halfway point. They've now caught up with Liverpool and Arsenal - two teams firmly entrenched in the title race alongside them. Aston Villa played their no.20, too, moving up to second with a win over Burnley.

City, though, are third after 19 games. They're two points behind Villa and leaders Liverpool while sitting ahead of Arsenal on goal difference.

Of course, it's not exactly where they want to be, as City were unquestionably title favourites at the start of the season. Some surprising results have kept them beneath the Reds, though - and Pep Guardiola admits that Liverpool have been better.

"[The title race is] so tight - we're not top of the league, Liverpool are better," he told Match of the Day. "We've had injuries and some problems, we won the titles, important ones, our level is really good I would say and we are there.

"Now rest, we all need it. January is less intense than November and December so we prepare for what's next."

On the one hand, it's surprising to hear the phrase come out of Guardiola's mouth. On the other, he is strictly speaking facts - Liverpool are better off than City after 19 games.

There is still such a long time to go, though. The second half of the season could well see everything change as teams fall in and out of momentum.

But a few factors could well sway things in the Reds' favour. City will play more games than anyone this season, for one, as they've featured in the Club World Cup and will expect to go deep into the Champions League.

Liverpool, on the other hand, didn't have the CWC, nor are they in as 'intense' a competition as the Champions League. The Reds will undoubtedly prioritise the Premier League title over the Europa League if it comes down to it.

But then Liverpool also have a couple of problems. Most importantly, Mohamed Salah is disappearing to AFCON at the start of the year, leaving the squad without arguably its best player. How Jurgen Klopp manages that could change everything.

A long way to go, then. But as things stand, you wouldn't swap Liverpool's position for City's.

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