Sergio Aguero out of Champions League clash against Liverpool
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Liverpool after failing to recover in time from a knee injury.
Aguero, who has missed the past five games for Manchester City with the injury, could return for the potential title-clinching derby against Manchester United on Saturday.
Guardiola is set to start with former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling along Leroy Sane and Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus at Anfield on Wednesday.
The City manager said his young attacking trio are “fearless” ahead of the critical all-Premier League clash.
“We are so happy with all [our young players] especially those three guys,” Guardiola told a news conference. “You have to live these kinds of situations to be better.
“They are young — Gabriel never played the quarterfinals of the Champions League in their lives and the first time will be here — but why should I doubt them when we did it at many stages this season quite well? If it doesn’t go well, it will be a good lesson for the future.
“I have no worries, not at all. I saw players who are 32 more scared than those guys. It depends on the mentality of them and they are so good.”
The former Barcelona boss encouraged his players to stay calm in what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere at Anfield, the only Premier League ground where his side have been beaten this season.
“In the quarterfinals, it is a mountain and it depends whether you are able to cope with that situation or not,” he added. “The opponent, of course, is one of the toughest in the world.
“We cannot forget that it’s not just one game, it’s 180 minutes. What I admire most for the important teams — because last season we were not able to do it — in the knockout games they stay calm.
“You see Real Madrid, Barcelona and when the other team attacks it looks like they are taking a cup of coffee because they know their chance will come and when that chance comes, they are not going to miss it. That is the big difference.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has told his side to “write our own history” as they prepare to face the runaway Premier League leaders for a place in the last four of Europe’s top club competition.
“It is a big game against one of the best teams in Europe, if not the best team in Europe at the moment,” said Klopp on Tuesday. “We are not in the quarter-finals by coincidence.
“Yes, we beat Manchester City a few months ago – we knew before the game it was possible. With our skills, we can cause them problems.
“It is a big job to do. Manchester City are a special team. They deserve to be the champions of the Premier League. In football it is not about being the best, it is about being perfectly prepared for the next game. It is not about yesterday, it is about tomorrow.
“It is clear City’s confidence is on an outstandingly high level, but we are in a good moment as well. They have a chance because they win wherever they go, but we can win football games as well.”