Klopp sympathizes with Pep over Man City's UCL ban; names favorite to win this season's competition

Liverpool headcoach Jurgen Klopp says he feels for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola following his side's ban from the next two editions of the UEFA Champions League. The 52-year-old manager's reaction comes after his side earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Norwich City to establish a 25-point lead atop the Premier League table.

Sadio Mane's 77th minute goal was enough to earn the Merseysider's the vital three points with their unbeaten run in the league after 26 matches still intact. As things stand, the club from Anfield has all but sealed its spot for next season's Champions League - a competition of which rivals Man City look set to miss out.

On Friday, the Citizens were dealt a massive blow after UEFA revealed that they have been banned for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 editions of the competition for breaching Financial Fair Play Regulations. Should Pep's side finish in the top-half of the Premier League table, their position in Europe will be awarded to the fifth placed team. In effect, Manchester City has revealed its plan to contest UEFA's decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport 'as quickly as possibly'.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, following Saturday's win over Norwich, expressed his sympathy for Pep Guardiola and his men, highlighting that the manager and players cannot be faulted for the mishap.

"To be honest, I feel for Pep and the players. They did nothing wrong, for sure.

"They just played football, sensational football for that matter.

"Wherever Pep has been, he has helped each league improve their football. But then again, we all have to respect rules. I have no idea if they (City) did or not, but UEFA sees it like they didn't. We will see what happens."

In a rather separate development, the Jurgen Klopp has tipped Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus to win this season's Champions League. While the German manager's Red army takes on Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, the Bianconeri will have a date with Lyon and the former Dortmund coach has maintained that the Old Ladies are favorites for the title this year.

"Juventus were my favorites before the season started but I obviously don't watch Italian football enough because I cannot work out why they are not 10 points ahead at the top of Serie A," Klopp told The Guardian.

"They have the biggest squad I have ever seen in my life; quality players too, it's crazy.

"The Bayern Munich squad is also massive, PSG are incredible when they are all fit, you can never discount Barcelona and let's not forget Manchester City because the Champions League will be one of their big targets.

"I have no clue how far we can go but there's no need to think about it yet because at the moment all we need to concentrate on is Atlético on Tuesday."

On the contrary, Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri has downplayed Klopp's declaration but insisting that the Liverpool manager is only doing a fine job to lighten the expectations on his side's shoulder.

"Jürgen also said that he doesn't watch much Italian football, so that explains his confusion," Sarri declared.

"Jurgen is one of the smartest and funniest people I've ever known and what he's doing here is shaking off the burden of being the favorites."

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