Liverpool vs. Manchester City
| Sunday, January 14th |
Premier League| Anfield
4:00PM GMT/11:00AM EST
Liverpool’s whirlwind festive period followed by the acrimonious end of the Coutinho saga all contributed to making this nine day break feel like a lifetime. Football? Is that what these guys do? I thought they just posted pictures of their fancy vacations on Instagram.
But Sunday afternoon we return to glorious Anfield where Liverpool will face a tough challenge. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who have been cutting a swath through the Premier League and ran away with the league title before the champagne was even popped to end 2017, will be looking to keep their stunning, season-long unbeaten streak.
While this is the first game Liverpool will play post-Philippe Coutinho, they’ve shown that they can win without him this season. They’ll also have Mohamed Salah back from injury, and, fingers crossed, Sadio Mané probably won’t ninja kick anyone in the face.
The last time these two teams met, City took advantage of Mané’s moment of madness and slotted five goals past a 10-man Liverpool. It was terrible, even if conceding five against the runaway best team in the league when down a player for most of the game wasn’t the end of the world. Hopefully the Liverpool players will use the memory of that day to motivate them tomorrow. After a rollercoaster of a week, managing to keep their own unbeaten streak alive while ending Manchester City’s would be the perfect way to prove to the world that Liverpool are more than just Philippe Coutinho.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Lallana, Can, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Virgil van Dijk is set to make his Premier League debut on Sunday. His arrival has coincided with a tough run of matches for the Reds. But after his heroics in the FA Cup derby, let’s hope he’s gotten his jitters out.
The midfield is the real worry against Manchester City, who have the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva ready to punish any missteps in the middle of the pitch. With Lallana fit, he’ll likely start. Klopp sees him as the high-pressing, ball-recycling lynch pin to a successful midfield. Klopp may choose Oxlade-Chamberlain or James Milner as well.
While Salah should be available, tomorrow’s match will likely be too early for Jordan Henderson, Alberto Moreno, or Daniel Sturridge. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne remains sidelined with a long term injury.
On Manchester City’s side, Gabriel Jesus, Benjamin Mendy, and Vincent Kompany will all miss this match.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “In a football way, we should try to clarify something. They have had a fantastic season, our season is not too bad, but in a game like this you must show that you can cause them problems, more problems than other teams can do. We must make their life difficult, and try to win. It’s Anfield, and we should show that. I’m really looking forward to the game, to be honest!”
Pep Guardiola: “He’s a guy who tries to play forward, no fear, courage and they play at Anfield. We have to defend, but I’m not expecting a team like he’s going to wait to see what happens.”
Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: Scott Ledger, Richard West Fourth official: Mike Dean
Kickoff is set for 4:00PM GMT/11:00AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, 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 the action as it happens.