The only two English clubs remaining in the UEFA Champions League meet in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night when Liverpool take on Manchester City.
Liverpool will welcome Manchester City to the Anfield this week, as the two heavyweights clash to achieve progression in the UEFA Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side advanced to the last eight of the competition, after putting Portuguese side FC Porto to the sword in the previous round. The Reds will come into the game high on confidence, as they remain the only team to beat Manchester City in the Premier League this season, having defeated them 4-3 at home in January this year.
Manchester City too had a fairly straightforward pathway to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, easing past Swiss club FC Basel (5-2 on aggregate), despite losing 2-1 in the second leg at home. Pep Guardiola’s side have been in absolutely rampant form this season and remain genuine contenders in the competition.
The two teams have already clashed twice this season, winning on one occasion each and Wednesday night’s fixture once again promises to be a belter of a clash.
Team News & Tactics
Adam Lallana suffered a hamstring injury against Crystal Palace at the weekend and will not feature while fellow midfielder Emre Can is also a major doubt for the game with a back problem. Joe Gomez is also ruled out of the game for the Merseysiders, whereas Joel Matip is out for the season.
Captain Jordan Henderson and left-back Alberto Moreno are both just one booking away from receiving a one-match suspension.
Liverpool are expected to go in with the same attacking gusto that has been their hallmark this term with Klopp’s intense pressing system having worked effectively against City last time out.
Loris Karius has been impressive ever since taking over the No.1 spot from Simon Mignolet towards the end of the last year. He will once again start between the sticks on Wednesday.
Academy graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold and summer signing Andrew Robertson will take up the full-back slots on the right and the left respectively and will be in for stern tests. In the heart of the defence, the pairing of Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk is expected to take the field.
Henderson will start as the deepest of the three midfielders that Klopp will field with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner most likely to partner the captain.
Mohamed Salah has been unstoppable this season and will carry Liverpool’s biggest threat in attack from the right-flank with Sadio Mane expected to be retained on the opposite side while Roberto Firmino will play through the middle of the attacking trident.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane;
Manchester City are likely to welcome back star striker Sergio Aguero back into the team, after the striker missed the past few games with an injury. January signing Aymeric Laporte picked up a foot injury in City’s weekend fixture but is expected to be fit for the trip to Anfield.
Fabian Delph is fit again and available for selection, but question marks remain over the availability of John Stones who missed the last game with a concussion. Benjamin Mendy is back in training but will not be ready for the game.
Manchester City have built a reputation of playing possession based football relying on quick transitions courtesy of their pacy attack and Guardiola is not likely to change that for the trip to Anfield.
Ederson has been a major positive in goal for the Citizens this season but will be keen on avoiding a repeat of the mistakes that he made on his last trip to Anfield. Kyle Walker will start as the right-back for Guardiola’s side with fellow summer signing Danilo likely to get the nod on the opposite side. Captain Vincent Kompany will partner up with Nicolas Otamendi in the centre of the back four.
Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva will act as the source of creativity and drive from the middle of the park, while Brazilian international Fernandinho will assume the responsibilities of shielding the backline.
Raheem Sterling, who has been on top form, will be keen on proving a point or two on his return to Anfield and will start on the right-wing, while Leroy Sane will carry an equally potent threat from the opposite flank with his pace and trickery. Spearheading the attack for City once again should be 21-year old Gabriel Jesus.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sane;
- Jurgen Klopp has recorded 6 victories in 12 games against Pep Guardiola with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool in opposition to Bayern Munich and Manchester City, while the Catalan has come out on top on 5 occasions.
- Liverpool are undefeated in their last 17 home matches against Manchester City in all competitions.
- The two teams have faced each other on 208 occasions with Liverpool winning 102 of those ties while City have emerged victorious 54 times.
- Wednesday’s match will mark the first time the two teams are meeting in an European competition.
Player to watch
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Not many expected to see Salah have the sort of impact that he has done this season, when he first signed for Liverpool in the summer. The Egyptian striker has been absolutely lethal in front of goal and has already amassed 37 goals in all competitions. He seems to break a new record, reach a new milestone, each time he steps out on the pitch.
Salah scored a screamer of a goal when the two sides clashed last time and will once again be the key for Liverpool if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time in over a decade.
Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City
The quality of attacking talent that will be on display on Wednesday means that goals are guaranteed, just like they were in the last two games between Liverpool and City. Both teams will look to attack from the outset and will go all out for a win.
This Manchester City side is a class apart, no doubts there, but they will not just be facing the eleven Liverpool players on the field, but the entire Anfield that will be buzzing for the occasion. Hence, we at the Hard Tackle, predict a 2-2 draw between England’s most prolific sides this season.