Venue – Wembley Stadium, London
Referee – Martin Atkinson
Date & Time – Sunday, August 4th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 14/5, Draw 11/4, Manchester City 10/11
Liverpool will play Manchester City this Sunday in the traditional curtain-raiser to the English Premier League campaign at Wembley.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds will be eager to take at least a draw from the encounter and deny Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City any psychological edge going into what is sure to be another battle for the Premier League title.
Liverpool struggled for large parts of the pre-season, losing three of their seven friendlies. However, the finished their summer schedule off with a 3-1 over Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday evening.
The team has looked out of sync quite a lot in recent games but that will often be the case with players returning late from their summer breaks as was the case for many Liverpool players in recent weeks.
Liverpool’s last competitive fixture was, of course, their famous 2-0 win over Spurs in Madrid when they lifted the European Cup for the sixth time.
Manchester City Form
Pep Guardiola’s side only played four recognised senior fixtures as part of its pre-season preparations. They won three of those four games, drawing 0-0 with Wolves in the other game which was the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy. Wolves went on to lift the summer silverware after a 3-2 win in the ensuing penalty shootout.
City’s last competitive game was their 6-0 trouncing of Watford in the FA Cup final at Wembley back in May.
That win completed City’s domestic treble of the Premier League, the League Cup and the FA Cup, becoming the first time in the history of English football to achieve such a feat.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool will be without Sadio Mané as the Senegalese international is only due back at training on Monday, August 5th. This is because Mané had a hectic summer schedule with Senegal as they went all the way to the AFCON final before finishing as runners-up.
Nathaniel Clyne is Jurgen Klopp’s only real long-term injury concern. The back-up right-back suffered an ACL injury in the Reds’ 3-2 friendly defeat to Borussia Dortmund in July. He won’t be back in full training until February at the earliest.
Klopp will likely start with a full-strength goalkeeper and defence. Midfield, as always, will be tough to predict and, in attack, I think Bobby Firmino will make an appearance as a second-half substitute.
Manchester City Team News
Benjamin Mendy is not expected to return to full fitness until September so he will miss out on Sunday’s fixture.
Aymeric Laporte is also carrying a knock but should be available for selection this weekend.
New signing Rodrigo has settled in quickly after arriving from Atletico Madrid. He should start in the centre for City.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Origi, Wilson
Manchester City XI (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Silva D; Silva B, Aguero, Sterling
WHEN THEY LAST MET
The sides last met on January 3rd when City won 2-1 at the Etihad. It was the win which ended up being the difference between the teams in the Premier League title race.
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring before a second-half goal from Bobby Firmino levelled things up after an excellent team move from Klopp’s men.
Leroy Sané scored the winner on the night, giving City all three points.
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City
I think Liverpool will do well to avoid defeat on Sunday. An underwhelming summer of friendlies, coupled with the club’s lack of transfer activity means that most of the Reds’ first-team are still only getting up to speed.
I think sheer determination on Liverpool’s part will pull them through with a more-than-respectable 1-1 draw.