Nicolas Otamendi says City’s successful pursuit of Liverpool to eventually secure last season’s Premier League title will have no bearing on this campaign’s battle for supremacy.

Ahead of Saturday’s return to Premier League action to home to Aston Villa, City currently trail leaders Liverpool by six points, having trimmed the Merseysiders’ lead by two last weekend.

But rather than focus on historical pointers to further narrowing the points deficit, Otamendi believes that the overriding priority for City must instead be trained on seeking to maximise our own performance, starting with the visit of Dean Smith’s impressive Villa side, who have taken seven points out of the last nine.

“Every season is different. It’s true we already have a gap with Liverpool, but we have to be loyal to our style,” Otamendi pointed out.

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“We have to go game by game; we can’t be overconfident.

“We have to try to win as many points as possible, so we get to the end of the season with chances of winning the Premier League.”

Given the demands of the TV broadcasters, it’s rare that Liverpool and City kick-off at the same time on the same day.

This weekend is a case in point with City hosting Villa at 12.30pm on Saturday lunchtime and Liverpool not in action until 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon when they entertain Spurs.

It’s a scenario that means the points gap can fluctuate enormously over the course of a weekend.

But Otamendi believes the vagaries of the title race shouldn’t have any bearing on our approach to the task in hand. 

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“The important thing is to focus on winning ourselves, whether it’s before or after them,” the central defender added.

“If Liverpool play before us, knowing the score doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be more relaxed. 

“Actually, we shouldn’t be relaxed, as we have to try to get as many points as possible to have the chance of winning the Premier League."

The return to action of both Otamendi and fellow central defender has come as a timely and welcome boost for City.

All the more so given that Rodrigo was forced off with a hamstring complaint during Tuesday’s Champions League win over Atalanta and is a facing a spell on the sidelines.

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With City in the midst of a hectic Autumn schedule, Otamendi says he and all of his colleagues are eager to pitch in and so help the collective cause – starting with Saturday’s visit of Aston Villa to the Etihad.

“It’s important to always be available for the manager,” the centre-half added.

“It’s a fairly big squad. Now Rodrigo is injured.

“Pep will pick a team for the weekend, we have to be ready in case we have to play.”