Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool could emerge as serious Premier League title contenders next season.
City have dominated the top flight this season and romped to the title last month with an attacking brand of possession-based football.
Guardiola’s men are expected to be the side to beat in 2018/19 as well but the likes of Liverpool, second-placed Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea will hope to put up a tougher fight in terms of the title race.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds got the better of City three times this season – twice in their Champions League quarter-final and once in a memorable 4-3 encounter at Anfield in January – and Guardiola thinks they will continue to progress and be a real threat next term.
“I’m pretty sure this season they were a big contender and they will be next season,” he told reporters. “I will not say just Liverpool [will challenge] but it’s still true. Liverpool, the way they play and the quality of their players – not just up front, I think [Virgil] van Dijk has helped them a lot to be more consistent in the defensive department.
“We are 25 points in front. It’s difficult to say it was difficult, but it was.”
Guardiola is a big fan of counterpart Klopp’s tactics and his positive approach, while he has heard plenty of good things about the German’s man-management style.
“Jurgen is a top manager, an excellent manager,” he added. “He’s created a model that has an offensive style that’s always thinking about the spectators.
“He is always positive and creating good environments in his clubs. I admire him because [City midfielder Ilkay] Gundogan was with him, [Bayern striker Robert] Lewandowski was with him and every player speaks so well about him – as a manager and a human being.”