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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola applauds fans after the match against Burnley. City won 2-0. Image Credit: REUTERS

London: Manchester City maintained their slim advantage at the top of the Premier League with a routine 2-0 win at Burnley on Saturday as Liverpool eased past Watford 2-0 to keep their title ambitions very much alive.

Kevin De Bruyne put Manchester City ahead after five minutes when he found the top corner from a Raheem Sterling pass and Ilkay Gundogan added another before halftime to keep City one point clear of Liverpool ahead of their seismic clash next Sunday.

“We came here to win the game and we did it. You never know what’s going to happen after an international break,” said City boss Pep Guardiola. “It was made more complicated by the fact we couldn’t score the third goal.”

Earlier, Diogo Jota put Liverpool ahead against Watford after 22 minutes in manager Juergen Klopp’s 250th game in charge before a late Fabinho penalty secured the points.

It is now impossible to hide from the enormity of next Sunday’s title match-up at Etihad Stadium. Just one point separates the two going into the fixture, with both sides having played the same number of games.

Relishing the challenge

It would be understandable if Guardiola felt frustrated at seeing the healthy advantage his side once had chopped down - but instead the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss is relishing the challenge.

“We will fight,” he said.

“The opponent is so tough and good but they said we will make a proper battle and we accept that.”

However, he knows Manchester City cannot afford any off days - even suggesting they will have to win all eight of their remaining games to defend the Premier League title.

“Hopefully Liverpool are going to lose against us, but apart from that I don’t think they are going to drop points,” Guardiola added.

“You have to handle it [the pressure]. We did it in the past when we had to win 14 games in a row [to beat Liverpool to the title in 2019]. Now we have to win eight games - otherwise we will not be champions.”