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Klopp feels for Guardiola and his players following City’s Champions League ban

Jurgen Klopp feels sorry for rival manager Pep Guardiola and his players following Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League.

The Premier League champions have been hit with a two-year suspension from European competition by governing body UEFA after being found guilty of Financial Fair Play rule breaches.

The club are appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but, as things stand, City will play only in domestic football in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Liverpool boss Klopp, whose side look set to succeed City as domestic champions this season, feels that is a shame.

The German said: “It was a shock when I heard it. I have no idea how these things work – what I can say is Manchester City under Pep Guardiola play sensational football. I’ve always admired what they do.

“In this moment I imagine it’s very hard for them.

“To be honest I feel for Pep and the players because, wow, they did, for sure, nothing wrong. They just played football and sensational football.

“Pep helped the league to improve football.”

Joey Barton feels City's ban is a shame for English football

Joey Barton feels City’s ban is a shame for English football (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Former City midfielder Joey Barton feels sad for English football that City will not be involved in the elite competition.

The Fleetwood manager said: “I don’t like the thought of seeing City not in the Champions League.

“They are one of the best sides in our country, so it’s a strange one because when that size of a club, with that level of a manager and players… you have to be in Europe’s major competition.

“For English football you want your best teams in that competition.”

The ban has sparked speculation about the future of Guardiola and a number of star players. There are also fears it could hamper their ability to recruit their top targets in the transfer market.

Jon Macken (left) thinks City will still attract top player

Jon Macken, left, thinks City will still attract top players (PA)

Barton’s former team-mate Jon Macken, however, is confident the club will still be able to punch its weight on and off the field.

Macken, who played for City from 2002-05, told the PA news agency: “Manchester City are a global success story. Everyone wants to come to Manchester City because of how successful they are and because they have arguably got the greatest manager.

“It’s up to them. I suppose you will get players who will want to play Champions League but they should be looking at the bigger picture – what Manchester City bring as a whole, not in the short term but in the long term.

“When you attract someone like Pep, with his profile, there is always the worry that he might go on to other things but, at the end of the day, Manchester City are a massive global attraction for anybody – any manager, any player, fans.”

Former City defender Keith Curle, who is now the manager of League Two Northampton, believes City have got a good case for an appeal.

The 56-year-old said: “I think they have grounds to appeal. I’m sure if they feel they have been wronged then they will fight that case.

“It’s a massive thing for them because they need to attract the best players in the world to that football club.”

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Ex-City skipper Andy Morrison is confident the club will ride the storm.

The manager of Welsh side Connah’s Quay tweeted: “There are times in life where you have to take a deep breath, put your faith in the system and trust the process.

“This is an opportunity for the Owners, Manager, Players and fans to UNITE yet again as one. The most successful club of the last decade ain’t going anywhere.”