LIVERPOOL VS. MANCHESTER CITY
| Sunday, February 7th |
Premier League | Anfield
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
While most of the world will be focused on a big football game of another kind on Sunday, Liverpool eyes will be on Anfield where the Reds host current league leaders Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men are blistering form. Their defense hasn’t given up a goal in the last five Premier League games. Liverpool, on the other hand, are just beginning to patch up their own barren back line.
Jürgen Klopp brought in two players to fill the holes left by the team’s many, many injuries. Fabinho has neared fitness, and it’s possible that he can resume his role as one of the two center-backs. The other will be one of Ozan Kabak or Ben Davies, but Klopp has made it clear that he has no intention of playing them together just yet.
After good wins against West Ham and Spurs, it looked like Liverpool were back on the upswing. However, another disappointing loss to Brighton in midweek brought the Reds back down to earth. Manchester City is a match that everyone will be up for, though, and if Klopp has the opportunity to return Jordan Henderson back to his midfield position, things may work out in Liverpool’s favor.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Assuming that Alisson, Sadio Mané and Fabinho are all fit to play, Klopp would potentially field his strongest starting XI in quite some time. Throwing Kakak in to face the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan with only a week of training isn’t an ideal situation, but nothing about Liverpool’s situation is ideal, so what else is new?
Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Naby Keita all remain out injured for the time being.
City are without star forward Sergio Aguero and playmaker Kevin DeBruyne, though that hasn’t stopped them from surging past all of their competition in the league. Nathan Ake will also miss the game.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “They are special games, that’s how it is. But in the end it’s for three points. Obviously City in the moment are in a slightly different moment than we are, we should not forget that as well, but one thing is clear – if you don’t defend on your highest level against City, you don’t even have to think about getting anything out of the game.”
Pep Guardiola: “They are always an incredible top team, they remain a top squad. They know the process, the skills, the methodology, the routines they do offensively and defensively. They are aggressive and (on Sunday) they will be more aggressive than ever. I am sure they will have rested really well after the game against Brighton and they will be ready.”
Referee: Michael Oliver. Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett. Fourth official: Chris Kavanagh. 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.