After their biggest transfer departure in recent seasons, Liverpool will face their toughest opponents this weekend when they host Manchester City at Anfield. City have looked imperious and even though the mood at Anfield is somewhat dull after Philippe Coutinho’s sale to Barcelona, expect the Reds to be competitive and threaten City’s unbeaten run in the League.
Liverpool are the only top side City are yet to beat away from home in the Sheikh Mansour era, and considering how competitive the Reds are, Pep Guardiola’s side will have to muster all the quality they have. Of course, Liverpool will have to do the same considering City have picked up 62 points and it’s only January; ridiculous.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a pretty strong squad to choose from. Here’s how the hosts could line up for the clash.
Simon Mignolet is expected to line up in goal. The Belgian was disappointing against Tottenham and Arsenal — Liverpool last two big games — and will be under pressure to keep out an in-form City attack.
In front of the custodian, we could see the partnership of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk. The latter had an impressive debut against arch-rivals Everton in the FA Cup and apart from a strong defensive shown, he also managed to score a goal. He’ll be a set-piece threat when Manchester City come visiting.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson are expected to play as the two fullbacks. Both will have their work cut out as they’ll be up against the pace and drive of Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
The midfield is where Liverpool could be hurt, and quite a lot. City’s star-studded midfield of Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva will take some stopping and Klopp could go with a three-man setup with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana o either side of Emre Can.
If Mo Salah isn’t named in the line-up, then we could see Lallana playing a more advanced role and Gini Wijnaldum playing in midfield.
Liverpool will hope Salah starts as he has been their best attacking player this season. City’s defence isn’t world class, and Liverpool’s attack certainly is, so if the Egyptian starts, the chances of Liverpool winning will only go up. Sadio Mane is expected to play on the left while Roberto Firmino will continue to lead the line for the Reds.