Pep Guardiola says he did not think Jurgen Klopp “was that type of manager” after the Liverpool boss claimed Manchester City benefited from a “two-week break” because of Covid-19.
City had an eight-day gap between games over the new year as a coronavirus outbreak caused their league match at Everton on 28 December to be postponed.
“Jurgen has to see the calendar again,” Guardiola said.
Premier League leaders City visit Liverpool on Sunday (16:30 GMT).
Guardiola’s side have won 13 games in a row in all competitions, while Liverpool have won just three of their past 10 matches, and have fallen to fourth in the Premier League.
Asked to explain Liverpool’s recent drop in form, Klopp said at a pre-match press conference on Friday: “We didn’t have a break.
“I think City had a two-week break for Covid reasons.”
City’s press conference took place later on Friday, and Guardiola was asked for his thoughts on Klopp’s comments.
The City manager responded by mocking Klopp’s reading of the calendar, saying: “He made a mistake. It was two months off, or three months off? No, [it was] four. Four months off. That’s why we are in top form right now.”
Guardiola added that City were still short of players when they returned to action with a 3-1 league win at Chelsea on 3 January.
He also questioned whether the Liverpool manager was employing mind games or had simply made a mistake.
“Jurgen has to see the calendar again,” Guardiola said. “We had Covid, we have one week and we played with 14 players at Stamford Bridge, but maybe I’m wrong and it was not two weeks, it was three or four weeks.
“On Sunday, when I see Jurgen, I’ll say to him: how many weeks or days were we off? I’m surprised. I didn’t think Jurgen was that type of manager, like other ones who are usually doing it. I didn’t expect that comment.”
City, who are seven points ahead of defending champions Liverpool with a game in hand, have won all 10 of their games in all competitions since the match at Goodison Park was called off.
Everton were annoyed and demanded ‘full disclosure’ of the circumstances around the postponement in December – announced four hours prior to kick-off – which came at City’s request.
Part of the reason for Everton’s stance was that, two days earlier, City had beaten Newcastle with a squad missing defender Kyle Walker and striker Gabriel Jesus because of positive coronavirus tests.
In addition, Ederson, Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia were missing from the squad that then went to Chelsea and won.
Guardiola argued that his side’s schedule has been busier than Liverpool’s this season – as although both teams have played 33 games in all competitions, City have had to play their matches in a shorter period because their campaign started later.
That was to give them added time to recover from playing in last season’s delayed Champions League last-eight tournament in August.
“Of course [he] forgot that,” said Guardiola. “We didn’t forget it, but they did of course.
“He knows it’s not true, come on! Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off! Some of them [managers] with that kind of situation, they do it for a purpose but I didn’t expect he would.
“I thought he’s not that type of guy, but if he did it: OK. Maybe I was wrong.”