Soccer

Pep Guardiola oddly defiant after Manchester City loss to Liverpool FC

Pep Guardiola oddly defiant after Manchester City loss to Liverpool FC

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola seemed primed to go off Sunday.

His squad lost 3-1 to English Premier League-leading Liverpool at Anfield, and the reigning champions fell behind early following a disputed decision.

Bernardo Silva's pass intended for Raheem Sterling in the box instead hit Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold's outstretched arm, leading to the Reds' counter-attack that Fabinho capitalized on with an outside-the-box screamer.

Guardiola took issue with the call, and another handball much later in the match. Both appeared to be on his mind when he, uh, passionately thanked the referees after the match.

But the Spaniard insisted during his post-match interview with Sky Sports that he was not being sarcastic with the officials.

"No way," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "I congratulated them. I'm so polite. I didn't say anything here [either]."

Indeed, in Guardiola's interview and post-match press conference with reporters, he didn't take the bait when asked about Alexander-Arnold's handball, which VAR subsequently upheld as not a foul on a check of the goal. Guardiola told Sky Sports to "ask the referees" about the decisions and instead focused on his own team's performance.

"We tried to do our job," Guardiola said. "I would like to talk about our performance, it was so good. So, I know when teams come here and the way they play [with respect for] Anfield, and from the opening, with the problems we have in the squad, the way we played was awesome. One of the best performances we have played. We played in the way, the reason we are back-to-back champions. That is the point.

"At the end, there's still seven months, and if Liverpool win, I will be the first to congratulate them because we cannot deny how good they are."

Guardiola's side trailed 2-0 at halftime, despite controlling possession and out-shooting Liverpool in the first half. But the Reds were clinical, scoring on each of their first two shots of the match. 

Liverpool's first-half performance reminded Guardiola of Manchester City's UEFA Champions League quarterfinal loss at Anfield two seasons ago, when the Cityzens dug a 3-0 first-half hole in the first leg at Anfield. Guardiola was happier with his squad Sunday, pointing to City's various injuries as Leroy Sané, Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko all have missed significant time this season.

"What happened today, we showed why we are the champions," Guardiola said. "In this stadium, the way we played was incredible. So, I'm so proud of my team more than ever. [An] incredible performance in this stadium against the strongest team in Europe, and the way we played ... I am so proud. So proud. We played so good."

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Perhaps Guardiola was just trying to be positive following some very visible outbursts, and the frustration stemming from both calls -- or, lack thereof, if you're a City supporter -- is understandable. But as strong as City looked, Guardiola's comments ring of moral victories and are oddly defeatist, especially considering where he and the club stand in global soccer's pecking order.

Guardiola arguably is the greatest club manager of all time, and oil money-backed City has the kind of financial might that only a handful of clubs in the world can match, let alone exceed. City trails Liverpool by nine points in the Premier League table, but don't mistake them for underdogs.

VAR overturns offside on Bournemouth's Dan Gosling winner vs. Chelsea

VAR overturns offside on Bournemouth's Dan Gosling winner vs. Chelsea

Chelsea's struggles in the English Premier League continued Saturday when visiting Bournemouth took all three points at Stamford Bridge. 

Dan Gosling's winning goal in the 84th minute initially was kept out by an on-field offside ruling, but VAR overturned the call on the field. Jefferson Lerma headed the ball back into the Blues' box following a Chelsea clearance, and Gosling flicked his shot over Kepa with his back turned to the keeper. 

Gosling's goal was one of two shots on target the Cherries managed in London, but Chelsea struggled to break through their defense. Just five of Chelsea's 18 shots were on target, and Bournemouth keeper Aaron Ramsdale was up to the task each time. 

Ramsdale's 72nd-minute denial of Emerson Palmieri loomed large in Chelsea's fourth loss in five Premier League matches. 

Chelsea's grasp on fourth place -- and qualification for the UEFA Champions League -- shrunk once again Saturday. The Blues now lead Sheffield United by just four points, and that lead can fall to as few as two points depending upon the result of Sunday's Wolves-Tottenham Hotspur match. 

In fact, Chelsea travel to North London next week to face Tottenham and former manager José Mourinho. If Spurs win Sunday, Mourinho's new club can move into fourth place themselves if they beat his old one next week. 

West Ham-Arsenal live stream: Watch Premier League game online, on TV

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AP

West Ham-Arsenal live stream: Watch Premier League game online, on TV

Arsenal needs a win. 

The Gunners' winless streak now spans two managers, as Arsenal manager Freddie Ljungberg is yet to pick up a victory since taking over after Unai Emery's sacking. Arsenal lost to Brighton at home midweek, and now travel to rival West Ham on Monday in search of their first English Premier League win since Oct. 6.

West Ham lost 2-0 to Wolves on Wednesday, and the Hammers have won just one of their last nine matches since October. The win came at Stamford Bridge in a London Derby against Chelsea, and West Ham have beaten Manchester United at the Olympic Stadium this season. Despite the Hammers' recent struggles, a victory isn't a given for Arsenal on Monday. 

[RELATED: Video shows fans' racist abuse in Manchester Derby]

Here's how to watch the West Ham-Arsenal match live online and on TV. 

When: Monday Dec. 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. PT
TV: NBCSN
Online: NBC Sports