Pep Guardiola laughed off comparisons between Mohamed Salah and Lionel Messi.
Liverpool’s Egyptian striker has been one of the Premier League’s best performers this campaign, netting 17 times.
However, ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Anfield, Guardiola played down the notion Salah was anywhere near Messi’s level.
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Asked what he thought of the comparison which the Liverpool ace’s displays have drawn, the Etihad boss gave a bemused look to his right, suggesting he hadn’t understood the question properly.
Once it was put to him that he had, a smiling Guardiola replied: “A lot of respect for Salah, but like I respect a lot — I help him to challenge.
“But try to avoid being compared to the other guy, please.”
City travel to Anfield later today, where they have failed to take three points since 2003 — and showed their superiority earlier in the season with a thumping 5-0 victory.
However, this time, they will be facing a Liverpool side who are bang in form, without a defeat in any competition since losing 4-1 at Tottenham on October 22.
Guardiola built his great Barcelona side around Messi, putting faith in the then up-and-coming superstar after he allowed Ronaldinho to join AC Milan.
They won the Treble in 2009 as well as another Champions League title in 2011, and the Argentine won the Ballon d’Or in all four seasons they worked together.