The Powerhouse Rivalry: A Modern Football Saga
On the face of it, Liverpool heading to Manchester City should feel like the biggest game of any season in the modern game.
The two sides have been English football’s two powerhouses over the past five years, and while City have admittedly dominated overall, the Reds have put up an incredible fight, winning one Premier League title and twice taking them to the final day.
Liverpool’s Resurgence and the High-Stakes Clash
Last year, things were horribly different, with Jurgen Klopp’s side not fit to lace Pep Guardiola’s men’s boots, but Liverpool have roared back into contention in 2023/24, sitting one point behind their rivals.
On Saturday lunchtime, the Merseysiders make the trip to the Etihad for a mouthwatering clash, with nerves kicking in all week, such is the magnitude of the fixture.
While still not Liverpool’s traditional biggest rivals, it is still impossible to deny that there is an edge between the pair, especially as Reds supporters feel robbed for being deprived of more league titles by a side with some questionable financial behaviour, to say the least.
On the face of it, this should be seen as a potentially season-defining contest that could look so pivotal next May, but could Liverpool even treat this as something of a free hit?
The Implications of Defeat and the Road Ahead
Cole Palmer’s last-gasp penalty for Chelsea earlier this month deprived City of two points, and it means that Klopp’s team will only be four behind them after this weekend, at worst.
The truth is, more important matches actually lie ahead in the coming weeks, odd as that may seem. Losing at City would hurt, but it would also be excusable, whereas some of the fixtures that follow after are simply must-wins.
Everything points towards a Liverpool victory in the home clash with Fulham on December 3rd – the Reds have won every home game this season, after all – but the two away games that follow will truly determine their title credentials, regardless of what happens at City.
On back-to-back weekends, Liverpool visit Crystal Palace and Sheffield United, and the results in these fixtures will be absolutely crucial.
The Reds’ Road Struggles: A Cause for Concern
The Reds have been bitterly disappointing on the road this season, dropping points at Chelsea, Tottenham, Brighton and Luton, with the performances against the latter pair not close to being good enough.
Six points in those games may not feel like a major statement of intent from those watching on outside of Liverpool, but given their struggles away from home, it would suggest that their winning knack has returned and that a title tilt is very possible.
The Bigger Picture: Beyond the Etihad Showdown
For the rest of this week, we can rightly look forward to a potential thriller at the Etihad, but defeat shouldn’t cause hysteria if it happens.
Failing to beat both Palace and Sheffield United, on the other hand, would be a genuine body blow, and give reason for huge criticism.