Venue – Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee – Anthony Taylor
Date & Time – Thursday, July 2nd @ 20:15
Current Odds – Manchester City 21/20, Draw 29/10, Liverpool 23/10
Liverpool arrive at the Etihad Stadium as Premier League champions, reigning Champions League holders, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup winners. That’s not bad, is it? If ever a team was deserving of a guard of honour from their peers, Liverpool is that team.
The Reds won the title at the earliest stage ever, with seven games left to play. This team earned 97 points last season and were pipped at the post by a brilliant Manchester City side. Now it’s Liverpool’s turn. In a world of uncertainty in 2020, the only fact you can be 100% sure about is that Jürgen Klopp’s mighty Redmen were the best team in the Premier League in 2019/20.
Manchester City Form
Manchester City confirmed their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday evening. Last Thursday, they lost 2-1 away to Chelsea, the game that confirmed Liverpool as 2019/20 Premier League champions.
City’s other two games since returning to action after the enforced pause to the campaign were convincing wins over Arsenal (3-0) and Burnley (5-0).
Liverpool looked understandably sluggish in the 0-0 draw at Everton in their first game back. When Crystal Palace came to Anfield last Wednesday, however, it was a well-oiled Red machine they came up against. Liverpool turned on the style and swatted The Eagles away in a 4-0 win.
Manchester City Team News
Fernandinho is suspended for Manchester City while Eric Garcia and Sergio Agüero are both injured. Garcia has a concussion but is not expected to make Thursday night’s match. Agüero’s season is over after he picked up a knee injury against Burnley.
John Stones could come in at centre-half since Garcia and Fernandinho are both out. He’ll partner Aymeric Laporte in the middle of the back four.
I think Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and David Silva will be the midfield trio for City while Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling are likely to start in attack.
Liverpool Team News
Joël Matip will miss Liverpool’s remaining games due to the foot injury he suffered in the 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. James Milner is also out because of the hamstring issue he picked up in the same game. Xherdan Shaqiri is also still listed as having a calf injury.
Jürgen Klopp will likely go with a full-strength lineup and I expect some youngsters to get some game-time in the second half. Thanks to the five substitutes rule, Klopp may well blood in players like Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott at some stage.
Manchester City XI (4-3-3) – Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva D; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool won 3-1 when the sides met at Anfield back in November. Goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané gave Liverpool an unassailable lead with Bernardo Silva scoring a late consolation for City.
The last time Liverpool were at the Etihad Stadium, they lost 2-1, their only league defeat in 2018/19. It was the game that would, essentially, decide the outcome of the title race, even though it was in early January. City went on to finish one point clear of The Reds.
There are no such worries for Liverpool this time around.
MANCHESTER CITY 2 – 2 LIVERPOOL
This game could be a feast of football now that both teams could be out to entertain. There’s no doubt that Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola both harbour a huge amount of respect for one another, and rightly so. But neither manager shows fear, no matter who they’re pitted against. Therefore, City and Liverpool will both be going for the jugular at the Etihad on Thursday night. It could be a fantastic match with plenty of action to savour.