With all eyes focused on Liverpool’s mid-week Champions League clash against Manchester City, it should be no surprise that the players’ attention is square on getting a good result at Anfield. Speaking to the official site, Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson indicated that he is no exception - everything is about Pep Guardiola’s side.
“I think you see the way the two teams play, it’s going to be intense, it’s going to be a high-tempo game.
Our concentration levels have to be 100 per cent and hopefully if we can put in a similar performance [to the January fixture] and get the better of them and take our chances like we did at crucial moments, then hopefully we can have a win going into the Etihad because it’s always better to have something to protect.”
Both sides have derbies sandwiched in-between their Champions League ties (City facing off against United and Liverpool up against Everton), and it will be key for each squad to not look past this fixture. Both teams also know, however, that the relative goals for the close of the season are more or less sewn up: City is all but assured the title and Liverpool all but assured of a Top 4 finish. This tie, then, presents an avenue for added spoils - an extra garnish to relatively successful campaigns.
The matchup itself portends a lot of high-flying action with the aforementioned January meeting resulting in 7 goals total and featuring up-and-down excitement that is as invigorating for neutrals as it is coronary-inducing for supporters of their respective clubs. For his part, despite the stakes and that this is a two-legged tie, Robertson expects more fireworks:
“Whether Man City are better than us on the night or whether we’re better than them on the night, that’ll still be there, the high tempo.
“Obviously they have the advantage of having the second leg at home so they might change it, but I think Man City have got a way of playing and they’ve not changed it in any Premier League game so far.
“They came to Anfield and played the exact same, they’ve went to Old Trafford and played the exact same when maybe people thought they would go a bit more defensive-minded and they’ve not done it, so we need to prepare for everything. We know the way we’ll play and hopefully that’s enough on the night.”
All told, it looks to be an absolute cracker as two of the best sides in all of Europe square off. Some may wonder if the familiarity - besides breeding contempt - might cause these tilts to be boring. Considering that these squads are stocked with some of the brightest attacking talent in the game and helmed by two of the most brilliant coaches to man the sidelines, I think it’s safe to say that more than a few surprises are left to be written. As a famed theme park employee once said, “Hold onto your butts.”