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Pep Guardiola backtracks on his own mantra with preparations for crunch Liverpool clash

Manchester City made light work of FC Copenhagen as they ran out 3-1 winners for a second time over their Danish counterparts to reach the Champions League quarter-finals

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who is known to always use the mantra, “the next game is the most important one” has implied differently in his team’s set-up to last night’s UCL meeting against Danish Superliga’s side, Copenhagen.

The significance of Sunday’s showdown at Anfield saw the Spaniard make a whole lot of changes to the first team, feigning worry over the state of players and how important that game is to this one.

Not just that, it also satisfies the fact that Man City, who looked to be leading heading into the game through a 3-1 first-leg victory has been placed in total control and command of the tie.

Six of those named on the bench – John Stones, Nathan Ake, Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and man of the moment Phil Foden – were rested with one eye on Klopp’s team, who are also leading the Premier League log at the moment.

Much after this coming fixture, City faces another huge test of their ability to win an unprecedented fourth straight title, hosting fellow contenders and rivals Arsenal on March 31.

Guardiola’s decision to leave his big guns on the bench was justified within five minutes from the start of the game, when Manuel Akanji scored to make it 4-1 on aggregate.

Another Julian Alvarez goal four minutes later to make it 2-0 was enough to kill the tie, thanks to a blunder from Copenhagen keeper Kamil Grabara.

Of Guardiola’s starting line-up last night, four are certain to keep their places for Sunday in Ederson, Ruben Dias, Rodri and goal-machine Erling Haaland.

Julian Alvarez, who started every one of City’s Premier League games this season until their last two, is likely to keep his place too.

With Guardiola all but sure of his line-up for the game that could go a long way to determining the outcome of this season’s title race.

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