| Sunday, November 10th |
Premier League | Anfield
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
I mean, do you really need a preview for this? It’s Liverpool and Manchester City meeting for the first time this season. Last season, a match between the two teams decided the title race, and this season it very well could again.
Liverpool have a six point lead over the titleholders, and they are very much looking to make that lead nine on Sunday. It’s been a while since the Reds have impressed against their rivals. Both matches last season ended with Liverpool looking second best, and that goal line image of Sadio Mané’s near miss at the Etihad continues to haunt every Liverpool fan.
Klopp’s men have only dropped two points in their first 11 games, which is — please excuse me while I check my notes. Oh, here we go — very good. However, they haven’t kept a clean sheet since late September, and Joel Matip’s continued absence in the back line has been deeply felt. They were able to play back from deficits against Spurs, Arsenal, and Aston Villa, but that will be a much harder task if it happens against Manchester City.
Making it a bit easier, though, is the fact that City’s first choice keeper, Ederson, won’t be available for selection on Sunday, according to Pep Guardiola. Whether that’s the truth or gamesmanship remains to be seen, but at the moment, it seems that there’s a chance that it might be Claudio Bravo between the sticks. If it happens, this would be his first Premier League match in 18 months.
Manchester City, like Liverpool, will come into this match on the back of a come-from-behind victory against a weak side. They pulled out a victory against Southampton last Saturday at the same time that the Reds were performing their last minute miracle at Villa Park.
Right now, Sadio Mané appears to be the only Liverpool attacker who is at 100%. Roberto Firmino had a goal unfairly disallowed last weekend. It would have been his first since their win over Chelsea on September 22nd. He and Salah will both need to be ready and firing to combat the lethal playmakers that Man City have at their disposal.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson have both been deemed fit to play be Klopp in his press conference, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that both will start this match. Van Dijk would start if he only had one leg. Klopp relies on Henderson in these types of big games. If he’s not quite ready to start the match, expect Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to take his place in the line up on the back of a run of very impressive performances that include four goals in his last four appearances.
Joel Matip is out, which means that Klopp will likely pair van Dijk with Lovren again, though Joe Gomez may make a reappearance. Unfortunately, Xherdan Shaqiri remains sidelined.
For Guardiola, Ederson is injured, along with Rodri and Aymeric Laporte. David Silva is also a question. Sergio Aguero is likely to start the match, though Guardiola could choose to play Gabriel Jesus between Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “To compare with Pep, it is easy to understand what I say and with my team, I don’t want to make us smaller than we are because we are incredible in moments, really incredible, but we still have a lot of space for improvement.
”It is not too important what you are in this moment but what you can be in the future, but you have to use everything. We all ask for that and it is necessary. Keep a performance level and then we make the next step. That is what we do in life and in football.”
Pep Guardiola: “I think in November it is never over. That is my point - I know what is going to happen if we lose, people will say it’s over but there are a lot of games to play and my experience in sport is that you have to fight until the end.”
Referee: Michael Oliver (pictured). Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Mike Dean. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Constantine Hatzidakis.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM 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.