City's Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty as the much-hyped clash between the Premier League champions and the side thought most likely to challenge them this season ended in a disappointing goalless draw.
In a game which rarely lived up to the pre-match hype, although the Reds started brightly as Mohamed Salah shot wide.
Mahrez has now missed five of his last eight Premier League penalties but Guardiola admitted during a TV interview that he was not aware of his poor record from the spot.
"That's why I say going away is not a big problem but now you call a manager of any country and ask him to leave out one or two players and he says, "I am under pressure as well" because now it's Nations League".
"You see teams like Arsenal with a new manager putting great results together so there is a long way to go and there will be a lot of teams competing but we hope we are one of them". We made it hard for them and they made it hard for us at times.
"If you play so quick they are much better than us", said Guardiola after the 0-0 stalemate. Where City have faced a fixture against a team just promoted from the Championship (Wolves, Fulham and Cardiff), last season's data has been taken from the fixture against the team relegated to make way for them (Swansea, West Brom and Stoke).
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The German's hopes of winning a fifth Formula One title this season moved away from slim and closer to non-existent at Suzuka.
Mahrez twice forced good saves from Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker after the break but then failed to find the target from the penalty spot when the three points were up for grabs.
"We grafted for 90 minutes to stay compact and we are happy to get the draw".
"We had a clear chance in the last action, so we controlled quite well".
Guardiola did not blame Mahrez for missing the penalty - which was blazed high above the bar - but did apologise to Gabriel Jesus for not allowing him to take it. "In the training sessions he shoot the ideal penalties, but that sometimes happens and in the end, that is what it is".
'I don't think Arsenal... "We were lucky in that situation, but we deserve this bit of luck with the performance". Sterling has started the season superbly and has four goals and two assists in six Premier League games, the 23-year-old is playing some of the best football of his career and don't be surprised if he scored against his former club.