Liverpool close a record breaking year out with a mouthwatering clash against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve, one which could go a long way to decide who gives Chelsea the biggest challenge at the top of the Premier League table.
Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, previous rivals in the Bundesliga, will meet each other in England for the first time, with a clash of playing style and personality likely to prove entertaining.
Match: Liverpool vs Manchester City
Date: Saturday 31st December
Time: 17:30 BST
Referee: Craig Pawson
After a tricky couple of games which ended in both points and Loris Karius being dropped, Liverpool have racked up three straight Premier League wins. Losing to Bournemouth having had a two goal lead before drawing at home to West Ham seems to have given the Reds a wake up call in their bid to catch Chelsea.
Middlesbrough were beat in some style away before Sadio Mane’s dramatic last minute winner at Goodison Park gave Liverpool fans the perfect Christmas present. The latest win came in some style at home to Stoke City on Tuesday. Klopp’s men fell behind following a poor start, but came back triumphantly to win 4-1, Daniel Sturridge getting his first league goal of the season in the rout.
Six points away from Chelsea going into the latest round of fixtures, 2nd placed Liverpool can’t afford for the gap to become any wider.
Unfortunately for the Reds, City are on a three match winning streak of their own. Pep Guardiola’s methods were questioned following defeats to Chelsea and Leicester City, but he and his side have silenced the doubters with some impressive performances of late.
They saw off Watford at home by two goals to nil before a victory from behind at the Etihad against Arsenal two weeks ago. The latest win came away from home at basement battlers Hull City, with three late goals making the scoreline (0-3) look much more impressive than the overall performance. Currently third, three points at Anfield for City would move them above Liverpool.
There’s no fresh injury news for Liverpool following the Stoke win, however there is concern to be had about Joel Matip who still isn’t back from an ankle injury, and will likely miss out vs Manchester City. Philippe Coutinho is working his way back, but City will come too soon.
Klopp has spoken about the Christmas schedule by saying that playing on the 27th and then 31st is normal, but not normal to then play on the 2nd of January. With this in mind, it’s likely that we’ll see more rotation against Sunderland on Monday afternoon. Emre Can may likely come in to offer some more defensive protection, and to provide some fresh legs in midfield.
The biggest team news for City is that they’ve got Sergio Aguero back from a four game suspension, and he’ll likely go straight into the team. John Stones limped off with an injury against Hull, leaving Kolarov likely to step into the centre of defence. Other than that, Pep isn’t likely to change too much.
Liverpool Predicted XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Henderson, Can, Lallana; Mane, Firmino, Origi.
Manchester City Predicted XI: Bravo; Sagna, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure; Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool hammered City 3-0 at Anfield the last time these two met, giving Klopp his first league win against one of the ‘top six’ at home. Dealing the Sky Blues’ title hopes a bitter blow, Adam Lallana opened the scoring before James Milner and Roberto Firmino added to the scoresheet.
The match proved as revenge for the Capital One Cup final just days previous, when City beat Liverpool on penalties at Wembley after a 1-1 draw following 120 minutes of football.
- Liverpool have won three Premier League games in a row against Manchester City
- City haven’t won at Anfield since 2003, when Nicolas Anelka bagged a brace
- Liverpool and City have conceded more than any other teams in the top six
- Liverpool (12okm) ran more against Stoke City than in any other league fixture since records began
PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL 5-3 Manchester City
No, hear me out. It’s Liverpool that we’re talking about. City conceded four to Leicester the other week, as did we to Bournemouth. I can’t see it being anything other than a goalfest. Mane’s scoring, Aguero’s scoring, Sterling’s scoring, Firmino’s scoring, Lallana’s scoring. Everyone’s scoring, but we’re ending the year with all three points.