Pep Guardiola strongly denies he disrespected Liverpool with touchline celebration

Pep Guardiola celebrates after his side's first goal in front of Liverpool players

Carl Markham

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola denied he disrespected Liverpool after celebrating wildly in front of substitutes Kostas Tsimikas and Arthur Melo during the 4-1 victory at the Etihad.

The home side were trailing to Mohamed Salah’s 17th-minute opener when a quick, sweeping move from right to left set up Julian Alvarez to equalise from close range.

It prompted Guardiola to erupt with multiple double fist pumps in his technical area at exactly the moment Tsimikas was walking past, and the City boss back-pedalled to keep ahead of the left-back to continue his celebrations.

He then extended that to on-loan Juventus midfielder Arthur, shaking the players’ hand and engaging the Brazilian in conversation.

BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand said of the incident, “I don’t know how Tsimikas hasn’t pushed the opposing manager Pep Guardiola out of the way” but the City boss insists he meant no offence.

“I was happy and I said how nice our goal was. That’s all,” he said.

When asked if it was an attempt at humour he replied: “Of course. Come on.”

But when it was suggested to Guardiola his actions could be construed as provocative, he added, somewhat sarcastically: “Nah, come on. I’m so sorry.

“Speak with Tsimikas, speak with the others. Ask him if I lack respect. I celebrate the goal with my son on that floor (the tier above).

“And I said, ‘The goal was nice, isn’t it’. That’s all. I’m so sorry. Do you think it’s a lack of respect? Ah OK, sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Meanwhile, Manchester City have expressed disappointment after chants referring to the Hillsborough disaster were heard during Saturday’s Premier League game against Liverpool.

The singing occurred during the first half of the encounter at the Etihad Stadium which City won 4-1.

A club statement read: “Manchester City FC are disappointed to have heard inappropriate chants from home fans during today’s game.

“We regret any offence these chants may have caused and will continue to work with supporters’ groups and officials from both clubs to eradicate hateful chanting from this fixture.”

The matter is the latest in a series of incidents between fans of the two rival clubs in recent years.

October’s reverse fixture at Anfield was marred by similar chanting and the daubing of offensive graffiti on Liverpool property, while City’s team bus was damaged.

City’s bus was also attacked heading to a Champions League game at Anfield in 2018.