City remain favourites to sign the Chile forward, who is out of contract at the end of the season and has made clear that he wishes to leave the Emirates Stadium but Manchester United are reported to have joined the race for his signature.

"I understand completely why you ask this question, it's your job," said Guardiola. "But you know my answer. I am focused on Liverpool."

"What's important is what happens over 90 minutes on the field," he added. "That is what I want to speak about.

"The players have two choices: Follow what you (the media) say, or follow me. I hope to convince them to follow what I am talking about. It's about football, football, football on the pitch."

The City boss said the match against in-form Liverpool at Anfield would give him a good idea of how far his team could go in the Champions League this season.

"It is a real test at Anfield, one of the most prestigious stadiums," he said. "It's a big game for us and we're going to prepare as best as possible.

"If you want to achieve something good, win titles, you have to not just win but win at these kind of stages. At Stamford Bridge we were able. Old Trafford we were able.

"We've still got tough teams to come. It is such an important game to see if we are able to do big things — especially in the Champions League stages.
"It means a lot in terms of how complicated it is to play there."

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