Liverpool will take on Manchester City tomorrow in what will be the biggest clash of the game-week. Both the teams have plenty to play for in the League as the Champions League spots are up for grabs. City, of course, still have an outside chance of winning the title but time is running out and securing a top four finish will be the minimum they’ll want to achieve this season.
Liverpool, like City, had a good start to the season, but a drab January period has all but ended their title hopes. Even a top four spot was looking doubtful a few weeks ago but two wins in two games and favourable results elsewhere have helped them get back into the top four.
When the two sides met last time, a Gini Wijnaldum goal was enough to win Liverpool the game. It was hardly an entertaining contest that many anticipated as Liverpool adopted a more cautious approach and shut out the Sky Blues for a majority of the game.
This being an away game for the Reds, expect a similar approach as City will have more possession which will provide Liverpool with more counter attacking opportunities. Liverpool have the best attack in the League and judging by how bad City were against Monaco recently, Jürgen Klopp’s side will fancy their chances.
Klopp’s side are playing in just the Premier League and might opt for a relatively unchanged side compared to their last game.
Guardiola and Klopp have so often extolled each other’s styles in the past and both share a similar problem – their side’s defending. While City’s problem has been the rotation, Liverpool’s has been the lack of personnel and quality. Milner has had to fill in at left-back simply because Moreno is inept and he is likely to continue there. Lovren returned to action having played for the u23s, but we expect Klavan and Matip to continue at the heart of the defence. Clyne will start at right-back. Mignolet has been fairly consistent in goal and should keep his place.
Wijnaldum has stepped up in Henderson’s absence and has contributed some goals as well. He will partner Emre Can, who scored the winner in the last game, and Adam Lallana in the midfield. Can’s performances have improved but he still needs to be at his best to avoid City dominating the midfield tomorrow.
Roberto Firmino trained on Friday but is still a slight doubt. With Sturridge out as well, Liverpool will be sweating on Firmino’s fitness. In case he fails to start the game, we could see young Ben Woodburn getting a start as Origi isn’t fit either.
Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane are expected to line up on the wide area if Firmino starts. The game will be open as City won’t sit back, so the Liverpool attack will have their chances.