In the wake of an ultimately pedestrian 3-1 victory over Southampton, Manchester City are laser-focused on their January 3 clash against Liverpool at the Etihad. While Tottenham are far from out of the picture, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s respective squads have been the two making the strongest claims on this season’s title, and as expected, they will head into the coming match representing the current 1st- and 2nd-places in the Premier League table.
Somewhat of an elder statesman at this point, Vincent Kompany knows full well from personal experience how emotion can swing these fixtures one way or another. With just seven points between the two clubs, it will be an opportunity for City to remind everyone this is still very much a race, while Liverpool will be aiming to lay down a marker and stretch their advantage even further.
The Etihad, while probably not deserving of its reputation as a moribund cavern, does not have the best history when it comes to that elusive “atmosphere” during these games. Kompany was quick to issue a call-to-arms ahead of Liverpool’s visit, no doubt hoping to be greeted by a fired up crowd.
“It is one of those key games you live for,” said the veteran defender. “Every living soul that comes into the stadium on Thursday has to be ready to fight and give it to them, and we should be able to pull everything out of the locker for that game.”
“Our pride has been hurt over the last few weeks but we have everything to play for and it depends on us,” he added.
City insist that Kevin De Bruyne is still dealing with a knock and could be absent, but they will have been boosted by seeing Fernandinho back in action against Southampton. Liverpool, having comfortably dispatched Arsenal the day prior, will no doubt have been watching and making their own preparations to spoil the party on Thursday.