Liverpool v Manchester City Preview - Anfield welcomes Premier League champions
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Michael Oliver
Date & Time – Sunday, November 10th @ 16:30
Current Odds – Liverpool 81/50, Draw 5/2, Manchester City 8/5
Time to bite your nails to the quick. These games are huge. No, they’re not fuelled by quite as much tribalist vitriol as the Manchester United or Everton fixtures, but because of the bar Manchester City has raised in recent years, this is one of the most important fixtures Anfield will witness this season.
Can Liverpool extend their lead to nine points or will it be cut back to just two by Sunday night?
10 wins from 11 in the Premier League – 31 points from a possible 33. That’s unbelievable. Add to that the fact The Reds are top of their Champions League group and into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup and the magnitude of what Klopp and this Liverpool team are achieving quickly becomes apparent.
Regarding form, Liverpool are winning. It’s as simple as that. They are doing what needs to be done in almost every single game. Beating City on Sunday would give The Reds a nice 9-point lead in the Premier League. Here’s hoping.
Manchester City Form
Before Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw away to Atalanta, Manchester City had bounced back from their Wolves defeat in early October with five straight wins in all competitions.
Pep Guardiola’s team also lost at struggling Norwich City in mid-September. However, the concern is that, once again, City will hit an incredible run of form in the second half of the season, as they did in 2018/19.
That’s why Liverpool need to maintain this six-point lead at least. City are capable of winning every league game they play from January to May, maybe even longer.
Liverpool Team News
Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri will all miss this game through injury.
Jordan Henderson missed the 2-1 Champions League win over KRC Genk on Tuesday night with an illness. However, the Liverpool captain should be back fully fit in time for Sunday’s game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will start on either side of the back four with Dejan Lovren most likely preferred to replace Joel Matip alongside Virgil van Dijk in the centre.
In midfield, Fabinho will be at the base of the three with the afore-mentioned Jordan Henderson with Gini Wijnaldum just in front of the Brazilian.
Much has been made of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s impressive performances in recent weeks, and rightly so. Personally, I would like to see Oxlade-Chamberlain start in place of Henderson on Sunday but my guess is Klopp will stick with the well-drilled and structured trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum.
In attack, Liverpool will be at full strength. Mohamed Salah will start wide on the right with Bobby Firmino through the middle and Sadio Mané cutting in from the left.
Manchester City Team News
Leroy Sané, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Rodri have all been ruled out of this game through injury.
David Silva is also a doubt but could face a fitness test later in the week to determine his availability.
Ederson went off at half-time in City’s 1-1 draw at Atalanta on Wednesday but he will almost certainly be fine to start at Anfield.
Fernandinho and John Stones will more than likely form the makeshift central-defensive partnership with the in-form Kyle Walker at right-back and Benjamin Mendy on the opposite flank.
Bernardo Silva will drop back into midfield to take David Silva’s place, meaning there will be room for Riyad Mahrez to start wide on the left of City’s front three.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Manchester City XI (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
When they last met
Liverpool and Manchester City last met in August’s Community Shield curtain-raiser at Wembley in an exciting 1-1 draw. City went on to win on penalties on the day.
At Anfield, Liverpool haven’t lost to City since 2003 when a late double from Nicolas Anelka gave the visitors victory after Milan Baros had put Liverpool ahead early in the second half.
Last season, this fixture ended in a 0-0 draw. Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the 86th minute was the highlight of a surprisingly dull encounter when both sides just cancelled each other out on the day.
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City
These games are almost impossible to call. Also, with the bar currently at the level these sides raised it to last season, it seems far more important for Liverpool to avoid defeat in the head-to-heads than to go chasing victory. I hope I’m wrong and The Reds do take all three points. However, I can see another draw on the horizon.