Gabriel Jesus has set his sights on Liverpool after making a goalscoring return to action for Manchester City.
The Brazil striker came off the bench to turn Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Olympiacos at the Etihad Stadium decisively in City’s favour.
It was the 23-year-old’s first appearance since suffering a thigh injury in the opening game of the season and the first time in three games City have had a specialist centre forward on the field.
Good to have you back! 💙 https://t.co/lIhkjN0oNv
— Manchester City (@ManCity) November 3, 2020
That should give Pep Guardiola’s side a lift for what Jesus sees as a crunch clash against champions Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
“It’s a very important game for us,” said Jesus. “It’s a direct confrontation against the leader of the table.
“We need to be very focused, especially playing at home. We need to play our way and try to win the game. We need to win those three points if we want to aspire to win the Premier League again.”
City were labouring against the Greek champions before Jesus’ 70th-minute introduction changed the game.
Ferran Torres had given City a 10th-minute lead with his third Champions League goal in three games but Olympiacos threatened an equaliser after the break.
Jesus ended the visitors’ hopes by lashing a shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle after 81 minutes and Joao Cancelo wrapped up a flattering 3-0 win in the last minute.
The result maintained City’s three-point lead at the top of Group C and kept them well on course for a place in the knockout stages, where they will hope to improve on last season’s disappointing quarter-final exit.
Jesus said: “I think all the clubs want to win the Champions League. You need to have something extra to win it. We are creating that extra factor you need.
“Every season we wish to win it and we fight for it. It didn’t work in the last few seasons, but in football and in life, you always have another chance. This year, we have another opportunity to win it.”
With Sergio Aguero sidelined alongside Jesus in recent weeks, Torres has acquitted himself well as a makeshift striker.
— Ferran Torres (@FerranTorres20) November 3, 2020
The 20-year-old winger was viewed as a replacement for Leroy Sane when he arrived from Valencia in the summer but his versatility has been an unexpected bonus for Guardiola.
Torres said: “I started playing as a right winger but lately I have been alternating it with playing as a left winger or number nine.
“I feel comfortable in any of the three positions at the front. The only thing I want is to keep playing, so it doesn’t matter to me in which position.
“I’m very happy for having been able to score in the first three European games with Manchester City.”