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Pep Guardiola fires opening salvo as mind games start ahead of Liverpool clash.

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Pep Guardiola didn’t need a second invitation to get his message across. Come to think of it, he didn’t need a first one either.

The question was simple enough. Had Guardiola been aware of Liverpool’s comeback at Aston Villa after Manchester City completed one of their own against Southampton at the Etihad?

No mention of Sadio Mane or diving or the fact that City play Liverpool in a titanic clash at Anfield on Sunday.

Even so, Guardiola thought it would be a good moment to fire off an opening salvo at City’s title rivals and their Senegal striker.

‘It’s not our business,’ he said before making it his business.

‘We arrived in the locker room and it was 1-1 (at Villa Park) and then 1-2. It has happened many times, what Liverpool have done, in the last few years, it’s because Mane is a special talent.

‘Sometimes he’s diving, sometimes he has this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute. He’s a talent.’

Presumably, Guardiola was aware that Mane — who won a contentious late penalty against Leicester last month — had been booked for simulation before setting up Liverpool’s equaliser and scoring their winner at Villa, but that wasn’t his main motivation for bringing it up.

This was all about Anfield on Sunday and what promises to be another belting game between City and Liverpool.

Last season, the gap between them was one point. Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty in a goalless draw on Merseyside, and Leroy Sane’s shot off the post gave City a 2-1 home win after John Stones made an incredible clearance before the remaining 11 millimetres of the ball crossed the line. Had either of those two pivotal moments at the Etihad turned out differently, Liverpool would be champions now.

Potentially, that’s what is at stake next weekend. Those are the margins, and understandably Guardiola will do anything he can to give City the slightest edge.

If his comment plants a seed of doubt in the referee’s mind when Mane goes down in the box on Sunday, the Spaniard will see it as a job well done.

It is unlikely to be the only act of psychological warfare this week between two clubs whose rivalry has grown increasingly fierce. There is little love lost and City have not forgotten the attack on their team bus before a Champions League game at Anfield last year.

Both teams play in Europe this week — Liverpool at home to Genk on Tuesday and City away to Atalanta on Wednesday — but Sunday’s game will not be far from their thoughts. City have not won at Anfield since 2003 and Guardiola believes his team’s comeback against Southampton means they can still win the league even if that run continues.

‘We are going to try but I don’t think so,’ he said when asked if this is a must-win game. ‘How many centuries have they not lost at Anfield? We will see. Now we go to Italy and when we come back we go to Anfield. There are a lot of games to play and many things are going to happen.

‘We face one team that has 10 victories and one draw. That is more points than us, but we already have nine points ahead of fifth in qualification for the Champions League next season so we have a good gap.’

Guardiola revealed that David Silva is unlikely to play in either game this week due to the muscle injury that forced him off at half-time on Saturday.

Otherwise, the City manager says he is reluctant to take too many risks with his line-up in Italy with Liverpool in mind.

‘We’re going to play with the best team possible to win at Atalanta,’ added Guardiola.

‘Nobody can assure me that if we don’t do what we have to do at Atalanta then we are going to make a better performance against Liverpool.’ While Liverpool were trailing at Villa Park, City went behind to a Southampton side whose previous Premier League outing brought a record 9-0 defeat by Leicester and who were then comfortably despatched here in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

It took the champions until the 70th minute to cancel out James Ward-Prowse’s opener when Sergio Aguero turned in Kyle Walker’s cross, and Walker then snatched a late winner to send an increasingly animated Guardiola into rapture on the touchline.

Another defeat was hard on Saints, who defended admirably, but at least respectability has been restored over the course of their two visits to the Etihad. They return to St Mary’s to face Everton on Saturday. For City, the Anfield cauldron awaits.

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“black stars players were paid $2,000 for the friendly games” – Kurt Okraku

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The Ghana Football Association (GFA) President, Kurt Okraku reveals the amount the Black Stars were paid for the friendly matches

According to him during an interview with Nhyira FM, the players were paid $2,000 dollars for the friendly games unlike the $5,000 they used to take after each game

He added that, the players were more interested in building a better team instead of the monetary benefits

The players were paid $2,000 for the friendly games [unlike the $5,000 we used to pay after each game] because of the circumstance at hand

However, let me hasten to add that the players were not interested in the monetary benefits, rather team building. This is because we are preparing a new team for the future

He said

The national team played against Mali and Qatar, they lost 3-0 to Mali in the first game but clinched a 5-1 victory against Qatar in the second fixture.

 

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Manchester City Player Commits Suicide

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Manchester City 17-year-old Academy player, Jeremy Wisten has taken his life out of depression as the club wanted to release him.

The young footballer was a centre back who was born in Malawi and joined the City’s squad at U13 in 2016.

“The Manchester City family are saddened to learn of the passing of former Academy player Jeremy Wisten,” the club said a statement on Twitter.

“We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time.”

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Manchester United And Chelsea Play Out Dull Stalemate

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Manchester United and Chelsea played out a dull draw in Premier League encounter on Saturday afternoon.

Fans will certainly be disappointed with the outcome of the first meeting between Premier League giants this season.

However, for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, he would be pleased with a second successive clean sheet. Goalkeeper Mendy made a couple of decent saves to deny Manchester United.

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Chelsea on the other hand had a penalty appeal in the first-half ignored. Maguire gripped Azpilicueta in a headlock at a corner and there was no review by VAR.

 

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