Pep Guardiola hailed Bernardo Silva’s outstanding performance in City’s crucial 2-1 win over Liverpool.

The Portuguese midfielder produced a scintillating Man of the Match display against the league leaders, claiming an assist and running an astonishing 13.7km – the biggest distance by a Premier League player in any game this season – as the Blues closed the gap atop the table.

Guardiola praised his side’s tremendous effort as a collective but singled out special praise for Bernardo.

“He did everything,” he reflected. “He is the smallest one but he shows us that to play football, you don’t have to be tall or more physical.

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“He is incredible. I haven’t seen a performance like that in a while. It was clean and clever.

“Against Virgil van Dijk, he was comfortable.

“(In terms of how much he ran) I don’t know what he’s done!

“The game was a real game for both sides. We beat an incredible team. We were outstanding from the first minute. We are happy for this victory to reduce the gap. Everything is open.

“Everybody – Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte; everybody – gave everything, and in these situations, it’s nice for the victory.

“We don’t have a left-back. Huge compliments to Aymeric Laporte against these strikers. Everyone was outstanding.

“Playing against Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane is not easy for any player it the world – they destroy everybody – but the defence handled them.

“I admire everyone who does everything for the team, particularly when they play in different positions (like Laporte). When I talk about how pleased I am, it’s for these kind of things.

“We need Sergio Aguero in these games, his quality makes the difference. To win these games, he has done it all his career and his finish was incredible.

“Liverpool don’t concede goals, and we scored two. We played with courage, so aggressive in our pressing. They are incredibly fast in behind, so dangerous.

“If we lost, it is almost done – it would be so difficult. But we are four points behind them and they are the leaders. We have to fight a lot, but this gives us a lot of confidence.

“We were lucky but we had many chances to kill the game.”

Though delighted with the victory, Guardiola refused to become carried away, with City still trailing the league leaders by four points.

The manner of triumph pleased the manager the most with the Blues boss pleased to see his side show the mettle of Champions.

“Still, Liverpool are top. It’s enough points to still be in contention and at the same time, it’s a good time to congratulate these incredible players and what they’ve done in the last 16 months.

“I was no going to judge an opinion on our two defeats. This season, two defeats wasn’t going to cancel what we’ve done in 16 months. In bad moments, we have to be closer.

“They showed everyone how good they are against an incredible team. Both teams played to win and it wasn’t a cup final, although it was a final to us!

“By winning today, the Premier League is everyone’s target again and in three days’ time, we have another big test in the FA Cup.”