Ahead of their Thursday clash, Pep Guardiola hailed Liverpool as the best team on the continent.

"We have a rival who, at the moment, is the best team in Europe or in the top four in the world and that is Liverpool," said Guardiola.

Guardiola added that his strategy is to hang around in the title race as long as possible and set up for a late-season push.

"If we can sustain our position for as long as possible, we can arrive at the end of the season fighting for the title."