Liverpool host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City tomorrow in an eagerly anticipated battle between the two best teams in the land over the past few years. The Reds may be horribly off the pace this term but the fixture hasn’t lost its significance. Here’s the match preview. 

It feels like two and a half years and not two and half months since Jürgen Klopp’s side impressively dispatched the Citizens in the Community Shield at the King Power stadium. A comprehensive 3-1 victory was supposed to turbo charge a swift start to the season for the Reds.

That has failed to materialise however, with Liverpool winning just two of their subsequent eight league fixtures. It’s been a head scratcher really, and the manager has been at a loss to explain the sudden fall from grace his side has experienced.

Key players that shone in that victory in July have lost all semblance of form. The intensity levels have dipped as well, with opponents finding more joy playing through the Reds’ once feared press. This has seen the defence overexposed.

What was previously spoken of as one of the best defences in Europe has been breached eighteen times in the twelve matches since the Community Shield. It’s been an alarming collective dip in form that has seen the manager already rule out a title chase.

City meanwhile have gone in the opposite direction since the Community Shield. Erling Haaland (who missed some sitters in that match) has been on a ridiculous goalscoring spree, aided and abetted by Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and co.

The Norwegian is threatening to break every goalscoring record going. He’s netted a frankly outrageous 20 goals already this season, taking to the Premier League like a duck to water and manifesting what everyone envisaged.

Put the most prolific young striker in Europe into the side that creates the most chances and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm. Guardiola has reinvigorated his style whilst maintaining the side’s competitiveness on all fronts.

They are a point off high flying Arsenal (who beat Liverpool last time out) and will be aiming to lift a fifth league title in six years. Throughout five of those years, Liverpool have been their main competitors, but with the Reds struggling, they will be very confident of their chances.

Jürgen will have a lot of work to do in the buildup to this clash. Yes the dismantling of Rangers may have boosted confidence among the ranks but his men will require more than just confidence to hand City their first loss of the season since the Community Shield.

The German has made a career out of being a plucky underdog, and if ever he needed to channel that mantra, it’s tomorrow. He’s regularly mentioned that he doesn’t want to coach the best team in the world but rather the side that can beat the best team in the world.

He will have to earn his corn tomorrow as City fit the bill of “best in the world”. First thing on his to do list must be to ensure his side are more resolute and compact out of possession. Liverpool have conceded the first goal in 14 of their last 20 fixtures across all competitions.

That is not down to rotten luck, neither is the sample size small enough to ignore. It’s a glaring problem the manager has to fix. His side is constantly starting matches a goal behind. This leaves them chasing the game from the off, with spaces inevitably opening up as they pile forward.

Victory tomorrow could be the reset we all need. The 7-1 beating of Rangers was welcome but we’ve had huge victories (or at least victories that felt huge) and not backed them up. The Reds have failed to win three successive games this season, winning back to back games only once so far.

Tomorrow is an opportunity to land a blow on a fierce rival and remind ourselves just how good we are when we’re on it. It’s four unbeaten against City, with Klopp’s record against the Citizens standing at a healthy 9 wins, 7 draws and 4 defeats in regulation time. Here’s to making it 10 Ws tomorrow.

Team News

Jürgen Klopp kept his cards close to his chest in his pre-match press conference as regards to any knocks or injuries. Curtis Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been back training this week and could make the matchday squad.

Robertson marked his return from knee trouble in Glasgow and should be in line for a start here. Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Naby Keita, Luis Diaz, Arthur Melo and Calvin Ramsay remain absent through injury.

For City, Kyle Walker (abdominal), John Stones (hamstring) and Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) are the only absentees.



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