City are favourites to finish first once again, despite Arsenal leading the table as things stand. But the Premier League appears as open as ever this campaign, with no shortage of surprise results, especially when it comes to Liverpool.
The Reds have endured a poor start to the season, and they currently find themselves 15 points off the top, while Newcastle are within eight points as they look to build on an excellent start, armed with their new-found wealth.
The top-four race looks particularly interesting, with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United jostling for position, although it would be a shock to see anyone other than City or Arsenal finishing first.
Yet for Guardiola, as many as seven teams have a chance of claiming the crown, and that includes Liverpool, despite their poor start. “I would say Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham, [Manchester] United and Liverpool. I think these teams can fight for the title,” said the City boss, when asked about the possible candidates.
Asked why he thinks Liverpool are still a threat, the Catalan responded: “Because they have same manager and squad who were able make 17 victories in a row, 18 victories in a row in the past why are they not able to do it again? Nobody knows what is going to happen after the World Cup, there’s the transfer window, players coming back. This is my feeling.
“The first candidate at the moment is Arsenal. Why? Because they’re top of the league and the rest are close. So let’s see how we finish these next two games [before the World Cup] but I think many of these teams deserve to be there, we see how they play all of them, how teams like United, Newcastle and Tottenham have taken a step forward. They can be there – no doubts.”
Selecting Newcastle as a possible candidte might come as something of a surprise, but Guardiola feels the Magpies could be in the race for first place.
”They have incredible physicality to the way they play and they are playing one game a week, they are not playing in Europe and when this happens that’s a big advantage, when you arrive in the last months with energy. They have incredible energy and imagine how they are after one week.
“They have a good manager, top-class players. They have experienced ones, physicality in the middle, box-to-box transitions. The way they make the intensity without the ball is so impressive, the press high and they go with real rhythm and I imagine they are going to stay there for a long time.”