Manchester City’s Fernandinho has appeared to admit defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League title race ahead of his side’s away trip to Arsenal on Sunday.
The Reds’ 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday lunchtime took them to 49 points for the season, and Jurgen Klopp’s team are still unbeaten in the league and have dropped just two points.
City, meanwhile, have struggled to re-produce their form from the last two seasons, and find themselves in third place after losing four times during the current campaign.
Speaking ahead of the game against Arsenal, Fernandinho said Liverpool are so far ahead that City are not even thinking about them.
“It’s been really tough, really hard for us,” Fernandinho said. “I would have preferred to be closer to Liverpool. Maybe we thought after four titles one season, we believed something we are not.
“The reality of sport is to make you (win) again and again. Sometimes you have to live it. There isn’t a thought in my head about Liverpool. It is far away. First we have to think about (second place) Leicester .”
City’s problems have partly been due to a lack of centre-backs, with Fernandinho having to fill in in defence instead of his favoured central midfield position following the injury to Aymeric Laporte in September.
The Brazilian continued: “I don’t think I am being missed in midfield. Rodri is playing really well there. Of course, we are a bit different but he’s doing really well.
“The job you do at the back is so important as you help to defend and attack. The culture is that whoever scores goals gets the spotlight but it depends on everyone.
‘You have to protect your defensive line and when you have the ball try to give players in front the ball to attack and create chances.”
City could move to within four points of Leicester if they manage to beat Arsenal following the Foxes’ 1-1 draw with Norwich.