Pep Guardiola won’t soften touchline reactions in emotional moments

Pep Guardiola claims he cannot be expected to act like a statue on the touchline against Liverpool.

The Manchester City manager acknowledges the importance of acting responsibly in light of the two clubs’ attempts to defuse tensions in the escalating rivalry.

Ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup match at the Etihad Stadium, senior officials from both northwest powerhouses issued a joint appeal to fans to guard against unacceptable behavior.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp discuss touchline

City and Liverpool engaged in a moody shootout in October (Peter Byrne/PA)

This comes after Liverpool’s win over City at Anfield in October was overshadowed by a series of disastrous events both on and off the pitch.

Guardiola acknowledges that managers have a role to play in setting the standards, but he thinks this can be achieved without taking all emotion out of the game.

“People can’t act like ice, like marbles when you don’t concede a goal in this type of match against the biggest opponents.

“We will always react this way, but for me and definitely for my teams, respect for the officials, the rules and the opponent is always there.

“Reactions happen, so the referees are there to react and do what they believe is right.”

Amid the controversy over the fractious shootout two months ago, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was dismissed and subsequently hit with a touchline ban.

Guardiola himself became involved in heated arguments with officials and later claimed he was pelted with coins after a City goal was disallowed.

Speaking on Wednesday, he sarcastically said: “I was not sent. This is my dream against Liverpool, sooner or later it will come true.

“No, of course we want to be nice, come on – players, managers, spectators – but sometimes emotions and a lot of things happen.”

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah tackled the ball against Manchester City.

Liverpool and City have been at the top of the Premier League in recent seasons (Peter Byrne/PA)

Thursday’s match will be both clubs’ first game since the World Cup break.

Guardiola believes the letters from both clubs’ top managers to fans, calling for an end to recent hostilities this week, are a positive initiative.

Clubs are trying to create a good environment, it’s a football match. Try to create the emotions we saw at the World Cup in Argentina right now on the streets.

“You see, that’s great, we want to try it. Everything we can build step by step through press conferences with clubs, coaches, players.

“It’s just a game, let’s make people happy, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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