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'Man City won't let Liverpool open big gap next year'

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Pep Guardiola and his players will not allow Liverpool to open up another huge gap in next season’s Premier League title race.

That’s the prediction of former Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland, who says that the way Jurgen Klopp’s team has romped to the title has been a “lesson” which the City players have had to learn the hard way.

Liverpool clinched the crown with seven games to go, which is a record, and prevented City from claiming a hat-trick of titles.

The two clubs meet on Thursday, when the City players will give a guard of honour to the new champions, which will serve as another sharp reminder.

But Ireland, who played 176 games for the club from 2005 to 2010, thinks this season has been a one-off.

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“It’s been a bit of a re-building year - David Silva is on his way out, Vincent Kompany left and they didn’t quite replace him,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s been an eye-opener just how much work has to be done now throughout this summer period. As Liverpool are pushing on, that gap was getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and City struggled to haul it back.

“I can’t see the gap being this big again next year. I don’t see Guardiola allowing it to happen, the players will want it as well. It’s been a bit of a lesson for everybody.”

Liverpool now have their sights on City’s 100-point record haul, which they set in 2017-18, while the Blues will be defending that record, and seeking to restore some pride, when they face each other at the Etihad Stadium.


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