The Jürgen Klopp era tasted defeat for the first time just before the international break. Can Liverpool respond with a victory over an impressive Manchester City side? Crystal Palace proved to be a difficult opponent once again, winning at Anfield for the second league match in a row. This game provides an excellent opportunity to recover from defeat, although it must be said that a draw would be good result for any side visiting the Etihad.
Liverpool recorded a first victory under Klopp over a struggling Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge. If tomorrow provides three points for the away side at the Etihad, it will be a far more noteworthy victory. Manchester City have been in fine form since losing heavily at White Hart Lane, hammering Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and Newcastle in domestic action along with big victories in Europe.
Juventus, West Ham, and Tottenham Hotspur have shown that Manuel Pellegrini's side is not invincible. Aston Villa held firm to give Rémi Garde a positive start before the international break with a goalless draw. Interestingly, the draw with Villa was only the second occasion that City have failed to score this season.
Injuries constantly force Klopp to reshuffle his pack and reconsider his options. The former Borussia Dortmund manager has largely picked the same players in the league but will not rely on the gargantuan defensive talents of Mamadou Sakho after the Liverpool soldier suffered a knee injury. Daniel Sturridge claims that he's ready to play after yet another injury (knee), but James Milner and Jordon Ibe should be fit after returning to full training. This leaves some uncertainty as to who might start higher up the field in support of a striker or two.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Clyne/ Škrtel/ Lovren/ Moreno
Lucas / Can
Coutinho/ Firmino / Lallana
Klopp deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation in successive games against Rubin Kazan and Crystal Palace, but could 4-3-2-1 reappear from the start? It's important to note that the manager will make alterations to a starting formation during the game as he looks to get the best out of a squad stricken with one injury too many.
The deadly Sergio Agüero could return after missing the last month with a hamstring injury. Wilfried Bony is unlikely to feature after suffering the same injury fate as his fellow striker, and the extremely promising Kelechi Iheanacho might not be trusted to start on his own up top. There's also the feeling that Manuel Pellegrini considers Iheanacho as a support forward, much like Sterling. David Silva is simply a lovely player to watch and should return to the Manchester City squad on Saturday after an ankle injury that kept him out for a month.
Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, and Fabian Delph are all doubtful. Samir Nasri confirmed via social media that he'll be out of action until February, but with Kevin De Bruyne adapting so easily to life in the Premier League, Manchester City won't lack creativity in the absence of Nasri. The Frenchman has been a squad player this season when available, which is understandable considering the excellent additions of Sterling and De Bruyne.
The home side have won 12 of their last 13 home games in England's top division, a statistic that underlines the challenge ahead. Agüero has also scored in the three league games he's played against Liverpool at home. Philippe Coutinho has a good record against Manchester City with three in his last four league games against them. He was a big part of the victory over Chelsea and could play a key role after remaining at Melwood during the international break.
Games between the two sides have always been entertaining in recent years, but this will be a sizeable test of Klopp's abilities to inspire Liverpool in big games. It's still early in the 48-year-old's reign so the spirit of development and patience should be in force. Liverpool have made improvements since Klopp's arrival but enter the game as underdogs.
Kickoff is set for 5:30PM GMT/12:30PM EST tomorrow, with coverage from LFCTV GO online for subscribers across the globe and NBC Sports Live Extra in the US. We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.