A wearied Liverpool side will be looking to end their worst home run in 37 years as they host fellow Premier League title contenders Manchester City looking to stay close to the leaders.
The Reds have now failed to score in three consecutive home league games for the first time since October 1984 – a place where they had gone unbeaten for almost four years.
Wearied Liverpool Side Look to Stall Premier League Leaders
Manchester City in Flying Form
Sergio Aguero has been ruled out for the game on Sunday as he recovers from the coronavirus. The silver lining is Aguero tested negative so he can return to first-team training. Goals have come from every position for City in the Argentinian’s absence.
City spanked West Bromwich Albion 5-0 but then only won beat bottom of the table Sheffield United 1-0. Without the 32-year old the offensive outbursts are not as frequent and in previous seasons. As great as the Manchester City backline has been this season this will be a real test. Guardiola will need to have a short leash with his centre-backs if a player is struggling to replace him with a substitute.
It’s essential Manchester City does not commit any fouls that result in penalties. They drew 1-1 earlier this season because of a penalty converted by Mohamed Salah. New centre-back pairing of Ruben Dias and John Stones have created a formidable partnership and it will be tough for the Liverpool strikers.
Offensively, someone will need to create without the influential Kevin De Bruyne setting up his teammates. Phil Foden is currently in fantastic form scoring nine goals and assisting five times, leaving him second in both goals and assists for the club. His glowing form bodes well for City who will be looking to replace David Silva in the long-term.
Ilkay Gundogan has been the standout player for Guardiola’s side since losing the Belgian star. His sensational performance against West Brom drew plaudits but Sunday’s game will be up against a formidable midfield that has the likes of Thiago in its midst.
Although Raheem Sterling has had a slow start to the season, his performances have picked up in recent games and will be a key threat on Sunday.
Liverpool Look to Bounce Back
Despite being gun-shy in front of goal in recent games, Salah has still amassed 15 goals this season to lead in the golden boot.
Goalkeeper Alisson missed the loss against Brighton & Hove Albion in midweek and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to have his shot-stopper back behind a make-shift defence which could include new signings Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies.
This will go a long way in deciding who will win this game. Liverpool’s main concern is the injuries to their centre-backs. How will they hold up against the attacking Manchester City players?
They caught a break with two of Manchester City’s stars being out for this game. Nevertheless, they will need to be at the top of their game to win. Offensively, they are very reliant on their front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Salah. In recent games, the German manager has opted to rotate them but with such importance on the game, he will likely go for his main trio with Diogo Jota still out injured.
The onus and importance of the game are all on Liverpool and with back-to-back defeats, they will be looking to deliver a performance.
Anything but a win is a defeat for Klopp’s side which is why I think they will come out firing and win 2-1 to end their voodoo at Anfield once and for all.
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