Last season Jürgen Klopp managed Liverpool through three wins out of four against eventual Premier League champions Manchester City. Liverpool were the first team to beat Pep Guardiola’s side. City were rampant into winter last campaign but finally felt defeat in January when the Reds won 4-3 at Anfield.
Liverpool had their own run of rich form going into the second half of the season. Klopp’s tactics saw the team rise through the Champions League where a quarter-final tie with City loomed. But Liverpool were again the better team, besting the light blues 5-1 on aggregate.
City were deserved champions last time out and Liverpool’s left back, Andy Robertson, is sure that Guardiola has been analyzing Klopp’s weaknesses ahead of Sunday’s highly-anticipated match, working out ways to ensure Liverpool don’t linger too long at the top of the league table.
“It’s a new season,” said Robertson. “I’m sure Guardiola will be looking at the three games where we managed to get one over on them and seeing what he can change. We have to be prepared for that.
“Last season we did very well against them. The two quarter-finals were very good, especially at home when we went 3-0 up. Everyone expected it to be a tight game. In the second half we showed a side we hadn’t really shown before, we sat a bit deeper and limited them to very few chances. That’s what got us through in the end.
“We did get one over on them last season but they ended up with the Premier League and that’s what everyone strives for. They are the champions and they’ll have a game plan. But hopefully our game plan is better on the day.”
Robertson exudes the same confidence we were proud to expect from the team last season. Liverpool haven’t been firing on all cylinders but the unity Klopp has instilled in the squad should serve them well through the season’s difficulties.
Mohamed Salah hasn’t been scoring, or doing much else, with ease. The front three collectively are still not in magic rhythm mode, but the team is strong. Klopp’s plan and the sanguine mindset of the dressing room are enough to give Liverpool the advantage over any opponent.
“We approach it like every game,” Robertson said. “The gaffer always says no game is the same, there are always slight differences.”
“But the way we play is always the same, with a few tweaks for the team we’re playing against. Man City is no different to that. Of course, we’re playing against the champions and we need to be aware of that but it’s no different to any other game.
“There are only three points on offer. Hopefully at the end of the game we can have them, and it would be a big one for us if we can get them before the international break.”