Liverpool and Manchester City are set to take each other on at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday
Premier League leaders Manchester City will face off against Liverpool in the matchweek 23 of the Premier League, at Anfield on Sunday evening.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been in absolutely rampant form this season. The Cityzens haven’t lost a single game in the English top-flight this term and have dropped just 4 points – in draws against Everton and Crystal Palace. Sitting comfortably at the top of the table, City will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run with a win over the Reds on Sunday.
On the other hand, Liverpool too have been in good form coming into the weekend’s mega clash. Jurgen Klopp’s team haven’t lost a single game in all competitions since their 4-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur back in October last year and have won four of their last five league games.
Liverpool currently sit fourth in the league table, 18 points behind their weekend’s opponents and will be hoping to stay in touch with Chelsea and Manchester United above them in the table, with a win on Sunday.
The last time the two teams met, City had absolutely thrashed Liverpool, beating them 5-0 and Klopp will be keen on avoiding a similar outcome this weekend.
Team News and Tactics
There is a big boost for Liverpool ahead of the game, as star attacker Mohamed Salah has recovered from a groin strain and is fit to play, Klopp has confirmed. Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge have returned to training, but are still some way away from making a first-team return, while captain Jordan Henderson is still on his way to recovery. Nathaniel Clyne remains sidelined.
This will be Liverpool’s first league game post the departure of playmaker Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian moved to Barcelona in a stunning £142 million deal earlier this month, putting an end to a saga that had been going on since the summer.
Simon Mignolet is likely to continue in goal for the Reds against City, with Joe Gomez and Andrew Robertson starting in the full-back roles, to try and keep the City wingers under check. Joel Matip should start in the centre of the backline, while January signing Virgil van Dijk should be set to make his Premier League debut for Liverpool.
With Henderson ruled out, Klopp is likely to go with Emre Can as his deepest midfielder to offer a sense of solidity, with Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likely to provide the forward thrust from the middle of the park.
Mo Salah’s return will be a huge confidence boost for the Merseysiders. With his pace and directness, the Egyptian will pose a serious threat to the visitors from the right wing. Sadio Mane, who was sent off in the previous fixture against City, will be keen on making amends with a strong performance, starting on the left-flank, with Roberto Firmino playing through the middle.
Probable Starting Line-Up (4-3-3): Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane;
Guardiola’s side will have to go into the game without the services of promising young forward Gabriel Jesus, who injured his medial knee ligament in the 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace in December. Club captain Vincent Kompany is also sidelined for the champions elect with a calf strain, while full-back Benjamin Mendy is out till April with an ACL injury.
Ederson will man the goal for the Cityzens at Anfield. The Brazilian has been a great addition to Guardiola’s side and will be keen on getting a clean sheet on Sunday.
KyleWalker should start on the right-side of the back four and will provide City with plenty of width going forward, while John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi should start in the heart of the defence.
Fabian Delph is likely to be picked at left-back ahead of Danilo, given that the Englishman has churned out reliable performances one after the other in a makeshift position.
In the middle of the park, the trio of Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva are likely to take the field at Anfield. The Brazilian will bring the defensive solidity and a sense of steeliness to the midfield, while the dynamic duo of De Bruyne and Silva will look to pick the Liverpool defence apart with their creativity and vision.
Raheem Sterling will return to where it all began for him, in the form of his life so far. The England international has been absolutely sensational for City this term and will want to put on a great show against his former club.
Leroy Sane could start on the left-side and look to run at the Liverpool defenders at every given opportunity. And City’s highest ever goal-scorer, Sergio Aguero will be the man spearheading the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho. Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane;
- Manchester City have not won at Anfield since 2003, a run of 16 matches in all competitions.
- The last time Manchester City did a league double over Liverpool was in the 1936-37 season, a campaign in which they won their maiden top-flight title.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions, their best run under Jurgen Klopp, since losing to Tottenham on 22 October. They have kept nine clean sheets in their last 13 league games at Anfield.
- Liverpool could remain unbeaten in their opening 12 home matches of a Premier League season for the first time since 2011-12.
- There have only been five longer unbeaten streaks in the top flight than Manchester City’s current run of 30 matches: Arsenal’s 49 games in 2003-2004, Nottingham Forest’s 42 in 1977-1978, Chelsea with 40 in 2004-2005, Leeds United’s 34 in 1968-1969 and Liverpool’s 31 in 1987-1988.
- City could become the first team to win a top-flight match at Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United in the same season since Wimbledon in 1986-87. The Dons are the only club to do this since the Second World War.
- Sergio Aguero has scored in all six home league matches he has played against Liverpool, but he is yet to score at Anfield.
- Pep Guardiola has become the first manager to win the Premier League Manager of the Month award in four successive months.
1. Full Time Result – Liverpool or Draw @ 1.61
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.53
1. Kevin De Bruyne to score anytime @ 3.75
Player to watch
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Having missed the last couple of games for Liverpool, Mohamed Salah is fit again and raring to against the league leaders. The 25-year old has easily been the signing of the season so far, having had such a huge impact since his summer arrival from AS Roma.
In 29 games across all competitions, Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool – 17 of which have come in the Premier League in 21 appearances. His blistering pace, ability to cover up huge ground within a blink of an eye, coupled with the predatory instincts make him a very dangerous player and Liverpool’s biggest threat.
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester City
Liverpool haven’t lost a game since October and have been in very good form coming into Sunday’s blockbuster clash. However, given the form and the space that this City side are currently in, it is hard to think that they can be stopped, especially given the defensive problems that have plagued Liverpool over the course of the season.
The game should be an action-packed one, with neither team likely to sit back. But, City have just enough to clinch all three points from Anfield, and The Hard Tackle expects a 2-1 win for Guardiola’s side.