Man City set to make two more signings after Erling Haaland for Liverpool fight next year

Guardiola dedicates title win to Manchester Arena bombing victims

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There was no doubting the sincerity from Pep Guardiola when he credited Liverpool’s role in Manchester City’s incredible Premier League title triumph. The magnitude of the achievement, he said with obvious respect for Jurgen Klopp’s side, should be judged against the magnitude of the opponent.

If there was any remaining doubt how impressed he was, he added: “I have never seen a team like Liverpool in my life.” It was a nice line in both sentiment and construction.

And while it may also offer some consolation to a side who, in another era could have been celebrating their third title in four years and be standing 90 minutes away from the immortality of a quadruple, the real payback could come next year.

It was not false modesty when Guardiola admitted his City side will need to improve again next season if they are to successfully defend their title. And while the addition of superstar striker Erling Haaland to City’s roster as well as the likely signings of a defensive midfielder and a left-back, Liverpool have been busy reconstructing their squad, too.

City will add at least two players given the loss of Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy’s departure from the squad and the ageing legs of Kyle Walker. Yet it is the future of the manager himself which will be the main signature that City need if they are to blend together another squad capable of withstanding the renewed charge from Liverpool.

Guardiola was understandably vague about his contract talks in the aftermath. Given the emotion of the last few weeks and watching his blood pressure hit the roof on the sidelines, it was no wonder. His deal at City will take him to next summer as it stands and he may have the energy to commit to another 12 months after that taking him to eight years at the Etihad.

“I’m so exhausted right now. I need rest and I need to see the team next season,” he said. “What these two teams have done is quite remarkable but we will have to go again.”

The exhausting nature of City’s triumph over Aston Villa which prised the the title from the jaws of defeat will take some getting over. While Liverpool have to rouse themselves again on Saturday for one last push against Real Madrid in Paris, City will head for the beach.

Phil Foden, who likened the three-goal five-minute burst which brought home the title to the Sergio Aguero moment in 2012, said: “The team that Pep has built, we always keep believing until the end. Not many teams could do that.”

He is right – not many could. The challenge now is to recover, rebuild and improve because Liverpool are another and they are not going away.

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