After their 4-0 slaughter of Arsenal, Liverpool will take on another huge test going to Etihad to take on Manchester City. With an international break to savor their destruction of Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp will be looking to his players to put that all behind them and do the same to title favourites Manchester City.
Manchester City have grabbed seven points from three matches, but have yet to put in a really convincing performance. They’ve been worthy winners in the two matches they’ve won. but they have yet to really put in a performance worthy of the quality in their squad. They dropped points to Everton, but they’ll look to make up for that with a convincing win at home against fellow Liverpudlian side Liverpool.
Liverpool started the season off with a disappointing 3-3 draw away to Watford, but have recovered well with a 1-0 against Crystal Palace and the previously mentioned 4-0 trouncing of Arsenal. These big wins against big teams are always morale boosting, but this has become what Klopp’s Liverpool have become known for. They finished last season undefeated against the rest of the top six with five wins and five draws. Their past results will allow them to go into the Etihad knowing they can win. Now they’ll hope to make that possibility a reality and put Manchester City to the sword the way they did Arsenal just two weeks ago.
Manchester City will be missing Ilkay Gundogan as he continues to work his way back from his long term knee injury. Vincent Kompany is listed as a slight doubt, according to Physioroom.com, after he picked up a knock with Belgium. Raheem Sterling will miss a chance to play against his former club after his sending off against Bournemouth in the celebration of his late winning goal.
Liverpool will continue to be without the services of Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne as they continue to work themselves back from long term injuries. Clyne could be on a very long road to recovery, considering he was left off Liverpool’s Champions League roster, while Lallana, who is reportedly targeting a return in December, was included. Philippe Coutinho is back in training and is expected to return against City.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City were heavy title favourites going into the season and a lot of that hung on Kevin De Bruyne’s performance. So far the Belgian hasn’t put in the performances that are expected of him. After a league high 18 assists, De Bruyne is yet to score or assist a goal this season. He’ll look to kick start his goal contributions against Liverpool at the weekend.
Liverpool: Sadio Mane
For all the talk about Coutinho missing, Sadio Mane is arguably Liverpool’s best player and most important player. Mane scored in all three matches this season, picking up where he left off last season. He scored 13 league goals in 27 league appearances and Liverpool’s attack floundered when he left for the African Cup of Nations. His contributions cannot be underestimated and he could very easily rip Manchester City’s questionable back line apart.
This is incredibly tough to call. Manchester City will likely look to control the game and the ball. Liverpool will look to disrupt that control and turn the match into a track meet. The team that gets the closest to achieving their goal will likely win. Liverpool have looked more coherent in their plan in the last 18 months, so they could have an edge.
Prediction: 2-1 Liverpool