Liverpool make the short trip to the Etihad on Sunday as they come face to face with Manchester City. It’s a straight shootout for the title as first hosts second. With just a point separating the two sides, and with just eight fixtures remaining, a win here would be huge for either side.  Here’s a preview of the game.

A win would see Jürgen Klopp’s men go 2 points clear with seven games to go. It would underline the remarkable turnaround since being 14 points behind in January. On the flip side, victory for City would see them move 4 points clear and take a sizeable step towards defending their title.

You can be sure both teams will go hard at each other to try and strike a fatal blow. The two sides played one of the matches of the season earlier in the campaign at Anfield. The 2-2 draw was breathless, with neutrals all over the world getting their money’s worth.

Games between these two are always a joy to behold. The level of technical and tactical brilliance on show is unmatched in any rivalry in the world right now. There’s been talk of this being the greatest rivalry in Premier League history.

Both sides have pushed each other to ridiculous heights over the past few years. 2018/19 was a perfect case in point, with Liverpool missing out on the title despite finishing with an astonishing 97 points and just the one defeat all season.

That defeat was to Manchester City at the Etihad, and it marked the turning point in what had seemed a procession to the title for the Reds. Liverpool have the chance to enact a bit of revenge this Sunday. If the Reds go on to win the title, it would mark the biggest turnaround in Premier League history.

The Merseysiders couldn’t come into this decider in better form. They have won ten league games on the bounce to eat up the gap, with City dropping 7 points in that period. In those ten consecutive wins, Klopp’s side have only let in two goals, keeping eight clean sheets.

That defensive solidity will be tested by a relentless City outfit. The Citizens themselves hold the best defensive record in the division, with their record of 18 goals conceded, two better than Liverpool’s. The two teams are also first and second in terms of league goals scored.

The Reds have plundered in 77 goals to City’s 70. There’s not much separating the two sides. In fact, if you look at the league table from the 2018/19 season onwards, City have accrued 338 points, with Liverpool on 337. The next closest are Chelsea, a whopping 73 points behind.

It’s been an incredible run for these two sides over the past couple of years as they’ve battle it out for supremacy. Guardiola has edged it on the domestic front, winning three league titles and a chock-full of FA and League Cup trophies to boot.

Jürgen Klopp has found success in Europe, clinching the UEFA Champions League to go along with the one league title. That title celebration was marred by the pandemic and he’s stated recently just how much he wants to win a title he can celebrate with the fans.

To do so this season, Liverpool must defeat City at the Etihad, a feat they’ve not managed since the 2015/16 season. Klopp’s only away victory over Pep’s City was in the Champions League back in 2017/18. His five league trips to the Etihad since Guardiola took charge has seen two draws and three defeats.

Two of those defeats were embarrassing (4-0 & 5-0), with the other crucial in City pipping the Reds to the title in 2018/19. Jürgen has to find a way to break this hoodoo at the Etihad on Sunday if his side are to go on and lift the title.

A stalemate is unlikely to cut it as it would take Liverpool’s destiny out of their own hands. Victory wouldn’t seal it either, as we learnt the hard way in 2013/14 when Rodgers’ side beat City 3-2 at Anfield in what felt like the title decider. A subsequent defeat to Chelsea allowed City to claw their way back to clinch the title.

The Sky Blues have had the upper hand in this fixture of late, winning two and drawing two of the last four home/away. The last Liverpool victory over City came in the title winning season of 2019/20, and it’s almost poetic that the Reds have to beat City again if they’re to win the title this season.

Both sides are coming off the back of Champions League victories, with the Reds defeating Benfica 3-1 whilst the Citizens beat an ultra defensive Atleti side 1-0. It’s winner takes all this Sunday and you can expect a football match of the highest level as the two best coaches of their generation go head to head.

Team News

It’s a fully fit squad available to Jürgen Klopp. Fabinho took a knock to the head on Tuesday night but is fine after receiving stitches. Joel Matip is also available after being rested in midweek for Ibou Konaté.

Ruben Dias is the big one for Manchester City. The centre back has been out since the beginning of last month with a hamstring injury. He wasn’t involved on Tuesday night against Atleti and has been ruled out for Sunday’s clash. Everyone else is fit and available.

Key Players

Diogo Jota

With Mo Salah off form, Diogo is currently the deadliest finisher the Reds have. Whether he starts or not is not entirely certain. He’s scored or assisted in each of his last five starts for club and country and has a knack of scoring important goals. In a game where chances might be limited, he’s one to bet on to tuck one or two away.

Kevin De Bruyne

I could have highlighted Cancelo, Mahrez or even Foden, but KDB is the man who connects all the dots in attack for City. He’s got five goals and one assist in his last 5 appearances for the club in all competitions. He’s in red hot form and will be at the heart of City’s play.

Thiago Alcantara

The Spanish international will be crucial to his side on Sunday. The midfield is where the battle will be fiercest. Thiago has the ability to beat a press and set his side away on the attack with just one stroke of the boot. He was signed for days like this, and his superior technical ability has to come to the fore if Liverpool are to get the win.



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