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Man City must be 'perfect' vs. Liverpool but anything can happen - Pep Guardiola

MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City must play "the perfect game" if they are to get past Liverpool to reach the semifinals of the Champions League.

City must overcome a 3-0 deficit from the first leg at defeat Anfield, but Guardiola insists the tie is not over and said his chance have the opportunity to create a famous European night of their own.

"Of course, to go through you have to play almost the perfect game," he told a news conference. "We will have to create chances, be clinical and concede few chances and defend well, all the conditions, because the result is tough.

"But we have 90 minutes and like in any sport, basketball and football anything can happen."

The Catalan said his side have shown already this season that they are capable of creating chances and said they showed that even in Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester United when they could have been further ahead than 2-0 at half-time before they were beaten.

"My team is exceptional," he added. "It's not comparable with many others. It's a joy to be manager of his team. I'm so delighted."

The defeat to United ruined City's title celebrations, with United scoring three times in 16 minutes, and came just four days after they conceded three in 19 minutes in a devastating spell at Anfield.

Guardiola admitted it was a difficult moment for his players but said they will grow from the experience, particularly if they find a way back against Liverpool.

"I don't know but if we are not able to cope with that psychologically it will be a good lesson for the future. It is a test, football like life is a challenge," he said. "We have 90 minutes plus extra time and what we have shown this year -- even in the last game -- we can create a lot of chances in the last few minutes."

And the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager believes his players are capable of beating anyone in Europe, particular after overcoming Barcelona [in the 2016 group stages], who he still sees as "the best team in the world."

"This team is ready to fight with all the teams in Europe, I am sure," he added. "But they are so good, the other teams, it's difficult but we can compete, especially at home.

"For the next step maybe we need more time. Next season we will be better, so you need to take steps. We are good enough and ready to try. We competed well at Anfield but we conceded three goals in 27 minutes, Sometimes you need more time but there is still 90 minutes."

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

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