But now, with a little bit less than 36 hours left in the year, that argument is a distant memory.
"Given the position of Liverpool, [if] we drop points, it's over, it's finished - it would be nearly impossible", Guardiola said.
The Reds have notched up a whopping 54 points already this season and have a comfortable seven-point lead over second-placed Manchester City. "Of course, I think they're going to drop points but not too many".
Kick-off is at 2.15pm.
"Liverpool know what they have to do, we know what we have to do on Thursday".
The City boss, speaking after his side won 3-1 at Southampton on Sunday, says that Liverpool are "maybe the best team in Europe or the world right now".
Paul Pogba: Manchester United are now playing as they should do - offensively
United were at their most threatening down his side, and he was beaten far too easily by Rashford for the first goal. One change could be made in the back-line.
"He's been looking at this for a year now or more and unusually City have not really responded or reacted properly to this".
'I don't know how he is, ' said Guardiola.
Van Dijk admitted that it will be a tough game, but he insists it is a fixture Liverpool want to win. But we're at home, hopefully our extra help from our people at the Etihad can help, they can support us.
Guardiola dwelt on the small margins that are constantly at play. City scored nearly immediately when Ward-Prowse deflected Raheem Sterling's cross past his own goalkeeper and Agüero quickly made it 3-1. If you get the same number of points in the second half, that's 88 points. Pogba has taken five shots, with four of them on goal, in each of the past two games, and had three chances created in each of those games as well. There's nothing to add.
"We will miss him, he's our best midfielder at the club". You have to score.
"We're not focusing on anything much other than our performance".