Manchester City has collected compliments and plaudits almost on a weekly basis this season and rightly so, though the premature if inevitable claims about Pep Guardiola's team being the best English side of all-time took a severe dent when Liverpool thrashed — not too strong a word — the visitors 3-0 at Anfield on Wednesday.

City's Abu Dhabi-based owners did not hire Guardiola to win the Premier League as that was taken for granted. It had twice finished first since the takeover and the Catalan had led Barcelona and Bayern Munich to domestic success so that was as expected as is possible, not least with a seemingly bottomless pit of transfer funds.

It is the holy grail of the Champions League that was in the sights of Sheikh Mansour and company when they brought in Guardiola and the dream of conquering Europe, for this season anyway, hangs by the slenderest of threads.