Liverpool encountering a team from Manchester has always been an historical occasion, yet the United of old have well and truly been overtake, by the juggernaut that is Manchester City. These two sides (Liverpool & Man City) are already vying for the upper positions within the Premier League, and Sunday’s game holds huge significance this early in the season.
With just a point separating the two sides, Pep will arrive at Anfield after a very impressive outing versus Chelsea. City have been far from scintillating, yet their ability to turn it on is still very much present. A Champions League loss to Messi’s PSG is a tough measurement of their form, but there are certainly cracks in the City defence this term.
With varying defenders at Guardiola’s disposal, he will surely look at Rúben Dias as a partner for either John Stones or Aymeric Laporte. Rodri will be tasked with screening the defence with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva working either side. The forward line is where the most uncertainty lies, with record signing Jack Grealish still finding his feet. Raheem Sterling will be hoping for another start (after midweek) but Gabriel Jesus could well return to add a strikers instinct. Phil Foden, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez will be hoping for opportunities, but all of the above are still struggling to cement their places in Pep’s strongest side.
Liverpool encountered a battling Brentford last week, and the draw prompted Klopp to recall the majority of that side, for the midweek demolition of Porto. Trent Alexander Arnold appears out with a muscular issue, so expect evergreen James Milner or Joe Gomez to deputise. The midfield trio of Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Jordan Henderson should remain in front of Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip. Rhythm seems to be the order of the day for Klopp, so there shouldn’t be too much change from midweeks goal fest. Curtis Jones shone bright in Portugal, so will surely be unleashed with key playmakers Trent and Thiago missing. Naby Keita will add good options from the bench, and could yet be a surprise starter.
The reds’ forward line should see the more familiar three reunited, after Roberto Firmino’s scoring return in the week. Mohamed Salah is reaching phenomenal levels, and Sadio Mane is a likely starter on the opposite flank. Diogo Jota represents the perfect late option, should Firmino start the game.
Liverpool will inevitably look to overwhelm City with a ferocious early tempo, and Andy Robertson must offer good width from the left. His tenacity will be needed, as he builds an understanding with Jones on the left side of the pitch. City will be hoping to calm a vibrant Anfield crowd, and gain control of the midfield, in what will prove to be a vital area of the pitch.
Liverpool have their tails up, and this could be the deciding factor, though they must find a better cutting edge when chances present themselves. Manchester City are a ruthless outfit if given space and time, and their attacking play will need to nullified from the source that is Kevin De Bruyne. The match is in the balance, and should be a tight affair.
Liverpool 2 – 1