Pep Guardiola has backed Liverpool to march on in the Champions League after admitting his Manchester City side had been deservedly beaten by Jurgen Klopp’s troops.
A 2-1 win at the Etihad secured the Reds’ progress to their first Champions League semi-final in a decade with a 5-1 aggregate win.
Despite taking an early lead through Gabriel Jesus, City were unable to maintain the intensity of their ferocious start after the break and goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino ended their challenge.
Despite detailing a long-running feud with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, Guardiola insisted he had no complaints about the overall result and will now turn his attention to securing the Premier League title.
“I should say big congratulations to Liverpool for going through,” he said. “Hopefully they can defend English football in the semi-finals.
“They are a top team with a top manager and I would say they deserve to be in the final.
“But we made an outstanding 45 minutes, really good. A big congratulations to the players for this competition because it was so good.
“We will come back stronger next season. Now we have a mini Premier League for six games and we are going to try to close it.”