Liverpool begin their final ten games of the season. After two wins in a row, they’re well-placed to secure a coveted spot in the top four. On Sunday is their last big game against a direct competitor this season when they travel to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. Liverpool have yet to lose a game against any other team in the top six this season, and they’ll be looking to make that a perfect record when they take to the pitch.
Speaking of those other top six teams, all of them have at least a game in hand on Liverpool — Manchester United have two — but nevertheless, as it stands, a win against Manchester City would propel the Reds into third place, putting them two points above City and eight above Arsenal. Considering Liverpool’s catastrophic start to 2017, the fact that they remain firmly in the mix for a Champions League spot is both impressive and incredibly lucky.
The Reds have won their last four league games against City, including their New Year’s Eve match up at Anfield where Georginio Wijnaldum’s eighth minute goal was the difference between the two sides.
Jürgen Klopp and his team will be looking to extend that league winning streak on Sunday, and they’ve been given a boost by the availability of Roberto Firmino, who will take the place of Divock Origi up front. The timing is perfect, as the young Belgian missed Thursday’s training due to illness. With Firmino returned to the line-up, it means that Liverpool will take on City with their preferred front four of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, and Adam Lallana.
Manchester City, for their part, have been having a difficult time. After the incredibly entertaining 5-3 victory against Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, the Citizens ended up falling out of the competition on away goals when Monaco pulled off a 3-1 win at home during midweek. This has, inevitably, put Pep Guardiola under some pressure. Add to this that City’s last league game ended in a stale 0-0 draw against Stoke City and narrative tells us that they will be coming out with a point to prove. They’ll also be hoping to extend their lead over Liverpool to four points with a game in hand.
At Guardiola’s disposal will be a nearly full squad, albeit one that played a hard midweek match. The only injuries are the long-term ones suffered by Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan. Yaya Toure and Nicolas Otamendi were unused substitutes on Wednesday, and so will likely feature on Sunday.
Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Klavan, Milner; Lallana, Can, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Coutinho
Time will tell if Firmino is available to start this match or just come off of the bench. If Origi is still ill, Klopp will have no choice but to start Firmino, since Daniel Sturridge is still out injured. Another question mark is whether it will be Ragnar Klavan or Dejan Lovren rounding out the back four. It seems likely that Klavan will get at least one more game while Lovren recovers from his injury.
Kickoff is set for 4.30PM GMT/12.30PM EST tomorrow on Sky Sports 1 in the UK. Elsewhere, Optus Sport in Australia, Sportsnet World in Canada, Star Sports Select HD2 in India, Supersport3 Africa in Kenya, Astro Supersport 3 in Malaysia, and NBC in the US are carrying the match. You can find full listings at LivesoccerTV.
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.