Manchester City will face Liverpool in a few hours’ time in what will be their biggest match of the season thus far. City had an uncharacteristic blip in December, losing 3 games and are currently trailing the swashbuckling Liverpool team by 7 points.
The players have tried to sound optimistic stressing on the long season ahead but a loss here is likely to see the Sky Blues get knocked out of the title race. The Reds invested heavily in their defence and midfield and to their credit, Klopp has managed to gel the whole unit pretty well in a short span of time.
Meanwhile, the champions were having a great season themselves, until a number of crucial injuries and a couple of wonder goals threw a spanner in the works. City have to now build from scratch again but with most of their key men back from injury and gradually settling in, there is renewed hope that they can put up a fight for the title.
PRE MATCH MINI FACTS
- Liverpool have won their last 9 matches in the Premier League.
- Liverpool have remained unbeaten in the last 11 out of 12 games against the Sky Blues.
Granted, the stats don’t look in favour of the blue brigade tonight but Pep and his boys know the value of the win and the potential damage a loss can cause. Hence, we expect nothing but a closely contested tie.
PREDICTED MANCHESTER CITY LINEUP VS LIVERPOOL (4-3-3)
Ederson is an automatic pick between the sticks. He has kept his level of distribution high and has started to make some crucial saves. Both these facets will be necessary tonight.
Kyle Walker is expected to start as the right-back. The former Spurs man hasn’t been at his best lately but he is the best option in that position and needs to play.
Benjamin Mendy is injured and Fabian Delph is suspended which leaves the error-prone Zinchenko up against Salah. Pep might choose to avoid that, in which case, Danilo could start as the left-back.
John Stones and Aymeric Laporte is Pep’s preferred central defensive duo and the future of this club. Both need to start and play their natural game.
Fernandinho is back and he will be extremely crucial in midfield trying to cope and nullify Liverpool’s high octane pressing system.
Bernardo Silva has been excellent and Ilkay Gundogan has been competent but City need to field their strongest team today. If Kevin de Bruyne is fit in time, he should be starting alongside David Silva thus completing the midfield trio.
Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling should be starting on the wings. Riyad Mahrez brings balance on the right but City will look to get on the front foot early and hence the former Liverpool star will be the best option to go with.