| Sunday, April 10th |
Premier League | Etihad Stadium
4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST
Does it all come down to this? Probably not, but when Liverpool travel to Manchester to take on City at the Etihad, it will be pretty close. Liverpool briefly overtook Manchester City on the top of the table for a few hours, the first time they’ve managed that feat since October.
The days when Liverpool languished 14 points before Manchester City earlier in the season feel like a nightmare. Currently, City have 73 points to the Reds’ 72. Depending on the outcome, Liverpool could end the day two points ahead, four points behind or exactly the same.
Both teams are in excellent form. Liverpool have won their last 10 league games, keeping clean sheets for the last five. City, similarly, are unbeaten in their last eight games in all competitions.
Contract negotiations drag on for Mohamed Salah, but that hasn’t stopped the Egyptian from performing every week. It helps that manager Jürgen Klopp has so much flexibility over who to put around him. Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz are two players who have made instant, positive impacts on the attack. Along with mainstays Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané, it’s hard to guess what front three will make an appearance on Sunday.
Phil Foden may earn a start up front for City, accompanied by Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez. Foden started on the bench for City’s midweek Champions League match against Atletico Madrid. However, when he came on to for Mahrez, he immediately set up the game’s one and only goal. His standout cameo may have caught the eye of Pep Guardiola — well, that and the fact that he’s scored in the last three league matches against the Reds. Managing it again on Sunday will tie the record and put him in the illustrious company of Jamie Vardy.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mané, Díaz
The front three is anyone’s guess, but that just feels right to me. The Henderson-Fabinho-Thiago trio seems to be Klopp’s preferred midfield setup, but obvious reasons. While Konaté did well against Benfica, even scoring a goal, the boss has relied on Joël Matip in the league, and likely will again on Sunday.
Through some dark magic, or maybe good karma, the Reds have no injury concerns going into the match, with Trent Alexander-Arnold returning to action after a hamstring issue.
As for Manchester City, they’ll be missing defender Ruben Dias in their lineup.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “I know that very often it doesn’t happen when two top teams face each other but I think our history with City shows that very often it was a pretty interesting watch because both teams really go for it and want to create opportunities, want to create chances, want to use momentum, want to use gaps, situations and all these kind of things.”
Pep Guardiola: “What is sure in Liverpool and City in the last few years, we raised the bar and raised the targets that the Premier League had before. The other teams realised they had to push more if they wanted to chase us. In the last five or six years, one year we were a little bit out, last year they had injuries and United was there. Both teams for five or six years we were there, both teams, fighting.”
Referee: Anthony Taylor. Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn. Fourth official: Andre Marriner. VAR: Paul Tierney. Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST tomorrow. In the meantime, The Liverpool Offside team will keep you updated with all of the team news and match buildup as it becomes available, along with providing a matchday liveblog and post-match recaps and reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.