Guardiola says Manchester City innocent until proven guilty, hopeful Haaland is fit

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Guardiola says Manchester City innocent until proven guilty, hopeful Haaland is fit

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Guardiola's City hosts Liverpool on Saturday
Guardiola's City hosts Liverpool on SaturdayReuters
Manchester City are innocent until proven guilty of over 100 charges of breaking the Premier League's financial rules, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.

Everton were last week handed an unprecedented 10-point deduction for breaching profitability and sustainability rules (PSR).

Champions City lead the standings by one point from Liverpool, who they host on Saturday, and Arsenal.

"Why should I not believe (we are innocent)?" a prickly Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

"It's the lawyers to make the defence in front of the judge. We wait and after we accept the resolutions."

Everton's punishment prompted an outcry from supporters of teams around the league who want City to face a similar penalty.

"I'm not going to say one word about Everton because I don't know the reality of what happened. They are two completely different cases," Guardiola said.

"I know people are saying, 'Why don't City go to the Conference' (the National League and lowest division on the English football pyramid). But let's wait. It's two different cases, it's not the same. One of them is longer, it's more complicated."

Guardiola, who led City to their first Champions League title last season to become the second English side after Manchester United to win the treble, was asked if he would quit if they were demoted.

"You're questioning me like we have been punished. At the moment, we're innocent," the Spaniard said. "There is more chance I will stay if we are in League One than if we win the Champions League."

Guardiola hopeful Haaland fit to play Liverpool

Guardiola is hopeful prolific scorer Erling Haaland can play against Liverpool on Saturday after he withdrew from the Norway squad during the international break.

Haaland injured his ankle in Norway's 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands on November 16th and returned to City for treatment, missing Norway's game against Scotland.

Haaland tops this season's Premier League scoring chart with 13 goals, three more than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah.

"He trained with niggles (on Thursday), hopefully, he can train today and we will see," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

"We have a few problems, the same as many clubs. We will see in the training session and we will see (Saturday). Always it's Plan A."

The Premier League's top five
The Premier League's top fiveFlashscore

City lead the Premier League on 28 points after 12 games, a point ahead of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, who are unbeaten in their last five league games.

Guardiola had kind words for the Liverpool manager.

"I think we are all friends," he said.

"We know each other quite well. Of course, the time goes forward, Jurgen has been eight years at Liverpool and of course it's not the same players since the start. He has rebuilt the team.

"(Liverpool's) Trent Alexander-Arnold can play inside and outside. But the idea is quite similar and (they have) always been our best rivals some seasons... Top club and team. Looking forward to it."

Only three points separate the top five teams in a tight title race.

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