Guardiola jokes he might have to play for Man City against Liverpool in post-World Cup tie

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Pep Guardiola joked both he and Jurgen Klopp will need to play for Manchester City and Liverpool when the sides meet after the World Cup.

The Premier League rivals will meet for the third time this season, having faced off in the Community Shield and the top-flight already, with the Reds victorious on both occasions, when they play each other in the fourth round of the EFL Cup.

But their next encounter will come immediately in the shadow of Qatar 2022, with the tie set to take place only a handful of days after the World Cup final on December 18.

That has led Guardiola to suggest both managers may need to lace up their boots, while conceding he does not know how his team will look once the dust settles after the tournament.

"He's going to play at left-back," he quipped on Klopp in a press conference. "I'm going to play holding midfielder. [But] I don't know how many players we will have.

"If [their national teams] don't get through the group stages, then they will be able to play Liverpool. If not, then we will see. Players will come back, but I don't know in what condition [yet]."

Both City and Liverpool will see several key players head to Qatar with their respective nations, though a fleet of players will not be called up.

That includes those, such as Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah, whose countries have not qualified, while others like Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara have not made the cut.

In the case of Haaland, Guardiola does not necessarily see the Norway international's break from action as a blessing in disguise, despite the striker's recent struggles with fitness.

"I'd prefer him to go to the World Cup," he added. "[But] unfortunately they didn't qualify. He'll recover hopefully perfectly from his injury. He'll be in Marbella or Norway, and will hopefully come back to train."

City play Brentford in the Premier League this weekend, in their final game before the mid-season break, but will be without Kyle Walker as he continues to recover from injury.

The defender was named in England's World Cup squad alongside club-mate Kalvin Phillips, who only returned to action himself in midweek, with Guardiola saying Gareth Southgate's call to take the duo to Qatar is backed by City.

"It's a decision from Gareth," he added. "One-hundred per cent, we support his decision. After Saturday, the players belong to their national team, not us. I'm not worried."