Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he had sympathy for his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in the wake of the English champions’ two-year ban from European football.
The ban was dished out by UEFA for the club’s alleged breaching of Financial Fair Play rules.
Manchester City’s domestic title challenge are all but over, with Liverpool 25 points ahead after beating Norwich City 1-0 away on Saturday.
But Klopp said the news on Friday about the European ban for the Manchester club had taken him by surprise.
“It was a shock. Complete wow!” he said. “The only thing I can say is about football. What they have done on the football pitch is exceptional. The rest, I don’t know.
“I really feel for them, Pep and the players, but that is how it is. They can appeal. So, we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious.
“But the football they played was exceptional and will always be exceptional.”
European football’s governing body UEFA said Manchester City had committed “serious breaches” of its FFP regulations.
This was by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to UEFA between 2012 and 2016.”
Manchester City denied any wrongdoing and said they would appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).