Pep Guardiola criticises Phil Foden after Man City's 4-1 win against Liverpool

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said his side ‘suffered’ in the first half because of Phil Foden’s immaturity in a false nine position.

The England international started in place of Gabriel Jesus as City’s lone striker at Anfield but it was scoreless at the break after a scrappy first half.

Guardiola changed tactics at the interval, reverting to a more traditional 4-4-2 with Foden cutting in from the right.

The move paid dividends as City capitalised on some uncharacteristic mistakes from Alisson Becker to put four goals past the champions at Anfield.

Foden set-up the second goal and rounded off the victory with a stunning fourth but Guardiola still found time to criticise the 20-year-old for getting ‘distracted’ in the first half.

Asked about Foden’s play as a false nine, Guardiola said: ‘He is a guy that keeps the ball really well, he is a guy that’s so aggressive when he is arriving,’ said Guardiola.

‘But he’s so young, still he doesn’t understand in some positions what you have to do. In the first half he was not in the right positions as you have to be like we work but he’s a little bit distracted sometimes in these issues.

‘Playing wide is easier for him but he will learn. after that the action for the second and fourth goal what a huge talent he is but still so young and hopefully he understands he can improve.

‘In the first half he was not in the positions we needed and that’s why we suffered in some moments to have the control.’

Liverpool’s defeat all but ends the side’s title challenge at such an early stage of their defence.

City have a five-point lead at the top of the table, while they have a game in hand on second-placed Manchester United.

Liverpool trail Guardiola’s side by ten points and have played a game more than their rivals.

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