City roll on, Reds title defence crumbles

·2-min read

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola refuses to accept Jurgen Klopp's claim that Liverpool are out of the Premier League title race with three months of the season remaining.

After City's 3-0 win over Tottenham and Liverpool's 3-1 defeat at Leicester, Guardiola's leaders are 13 points clear of the champions.

A third defeat in a row, despite Mohamed Salah's opener, left Klopp conceding that his side was out of the running for top honours,

"Yes," Klopp eventually said when asked if their title defence was over.

"I can't believe it. But yes."

James Maddison equalised for Leicester from a free kick, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson made a massive mistake in a mix-up with debutant defender Ozan Kabak to allow Jamie Vardy to run in on an empty goal before Harvey Barnes sealed the result for the hosts.

Liverpool's meltdown has been bewildering over the past six weeks.

Since a 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace just before Christmas, they have won just two of their 10 games in the league and are drowning in their defensive shortcomings.

They find themselves in fourth place but Guardiola is not writing them off yet.

"From what I saw from the way they played against Leicester, we would have to lose games, but of course they can do it," the Spaniard said.

City on the other hand have won 11 straight league win and have a game in hand over Liverpool and second-placed Leicester, who are seven points adrift.

"I don't think we can close that gap this year, to be honest," said Klopp, whose team might be out of the top four by the end of the round.

A ray of light for City's rivals might be an injury sustained by their star player of recent weeks; Ilkay Gundogan hobbled off against Spurs clutching his right groin.

Not, though, before he had scored twice in the second half to extend the best goal-scoring run of his career.

"He won the (Premier League's) player of the month last month and if he keeps playing this way he is going to win it again," Guardiola said.

That's 11 goals in his last 12 league games for Gundogan, who also won the penalty converted by Rodri to give City the lead on 23 minutes.

Burnley beat Crystal Palace 3-0 to move 11 points clear of the relegation zone alongside Brighton & Hove Albion, who drew 0-0 with Aston Villa.