Liverpool vs Man City
TV: Sky Sports
Referee: Martin Atkinson
I think it goes without saying, this Sunday will truly be a “Super Sunday”.
At 16:30, the north-west will be sitting down in front of the TV, some fans will be at the stadium and the rest of the country will most likely be settled on the couch as well. That is what happens to the nation when two giants meet; not only two giants, but two giants who sit second and first in the table, on the same points and with only goal difference to separate them.
Liverpool are on a winless run of three games having won seven on the spin at the start of the season. They were beaten at home by Chelsea in the Carabao Cup before scraping a draw at Stamford Bridge and losing to a late Napoli goal midweek, they need to get themselves out of this mini-rut because Man City is no easy task.
City, on the other hand, are on a four-win streak after their defeat to Lyon in the first round of the Champions League and managed to come from behind against Hoffenheim midweek to get their campaign back on track. Lyon and Wolves are the only sides to stop the blue half of Manchester so far this season.
What is on the Reds side is the head to head stats which are heavily one-sided. Man City have only managed one win (yes, one) in the last 10 standoffs between these two (this does not include the Carabao Cup final win on penalties back in 2016). That is some run for Liverpool who have managed to win the last three against Man City in all competitions. It’s fair to say, Liverpool are Manchester City’s boggy side, similar to Chelsea being Liverpool’s kryptonite.
Raheem Sterling will be gearing up for an eerie reception as he always does at Anfield, since his move to Man City back in 2015. The response he gets at Anfield is nothing short of hostile as the fans try to play their part in taking the English winger out of the game, mentally speaking.
The winner of this one will take the helm of the Premier League and will be sitting pretty at the top by either two or three points depending on how Chelsea get on away at Southampton in the earlier kick-off. Bragging rights, revenge and payback all come to mind when looking at this fixture.
By the end of the season, the result of this very fixture could be the difference between who lifts the Premier League title and who is sitting outside the celebrations and fell short. This clash is undoubtedly huge for both sides and with Chelsea waiting in the wings and Tottenham not too far behind too, it could be a huge weekend for the top Premier League sides.
Jurgen Klopp will be monitoring Naby Keita after the midfielder had to be substituted against Napoli midweek with a suspected back injury. Divock Origi has recovered from his ankle injury but more importantly Virgil van Dijk has fully recovered from the rib injury which had him side-lined last week; he’s now played two games against Chelsea and Napoli and seemed fresh and playing freely. Adam Lallana is also stepping up his rehabilitation from a groin injury.
Benjamin Mendy has missed the last few games for Man City with a foot injury and it was reported there was also a disagreement with the player turning up late for physio last week. Although, Kevin De Bruyne was set on being fit for this clash, unfortunately it looks like it will come too soon for him as he returned to training earlier this week after suffering a ligament lesion in August. Ilkay Gundogan left the field with a leg injury against Hoffenheim midweek and may be unlikely to play this Sunday.
Man City are normally a nightmare to try to work out their lineup as when you think you have an idea, Pep Guardiola always looks to freshen things up but based on the last few games he seems to be settling on a preferred XI. So, with all that being said, here’s the predicted line-ups and formations for both sides.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Liverpool: 4-3-3 formation
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner; Mane, Firmino, Salah.
Manchester City: 4-3-3 formation
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph; Fernandinho, B Silva, D Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane.
Predicted Score: Liverpool 2 Man City 1
Goals from Firmino, Salah and David Silva. It will be a cracking end to end game this one as neither manager or side like to change formation and stick to what they know, which is to attack relentlessly and keep possession but I feel like Liverpool have an emotional hold on City at the moment and I think this prevails again at the fortress that is Anfield.