While the prospect of facing Liverpool may rightly still terrify Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, this time, at least, they will be ready. The Reds have had their title rival’s number in recent years, having lost only twice in the past 10 meetings, with no victory more emphatic than the 3-0 walloping in last April’s Champions League quarterfinal.
Despite claiming to not be fazed by the menace of Fortress Anfield at the time, the hostile reception the City players received from the moment they entered Merseyside that night until they slunk off the pitch at full time was both overwhelming and more than a bit overzealous.
Citizens supporters were relentlessly heckled on the grounds, while the City team bus suffered so much damage on the way to the stadium by way of thrown bottles and flares that a replacement vehicle had to be ordered to take the team home after the match.
This time, City are trying to get out ahead of such intimidation tactics in the lead up to Sunday’s high-stakes Premier League clash at Anfield by placing high-definition “spy cams” on the bus in an attempt to deter individuals looking to replicate the atmosphere the last time out. While the club have met with local Liverpool authorities in the run up to the charged fixture, and are confident they will be able to make it to the stadium unscathed, the Mancunians have nevertheless elected to this additional precaution.
Pep will most certainly need all the help he can get. Jürgen Klopp and the Reds may be on a three-game winless streak, but this is one fixture in particular where red shirts tends to rise to the occasion. #1 and #2 in the league table face off this Sunday; at least this time City won’t have an excuse.