Liverpool’s meetings with Manchester City have been one of the most eagerly awaited match-ups on the football calendar in recent years, thanks to their managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, who have redefined the rivalry with their ideas and philosophy. The last one saw City win 4-1 in an empty Anfield.
The previous season saw Liverpool endure an injury crisis in defence and lose six consecutive home games in that period. They did manage to put a winning run together in the end and managed a third-place finish, but that didn’t stop a few seeds of doubt from being planted in the minds of fans and pundits alike about their ability to mount another title challenge.
Six games into the new season, and the league table has Liverpool on the top. Klopp’s side haven’t wasted any time to get going, scoring 15 times while letting in only 4. They also have the league’s highest xG (15.9), followed by City (14.6), meanwhile talisman Salah has five goals to his name, which is the most in the league.
The 3-3 draw against Brentford saw questions being asked of their defence and the Reds look uncharacteristically wobbly, but Klopp will expect his men to rise to the occasion in front of a partisan crowd at Anfield.
Liverpool Form: WWDWWD
Liverpool League Position: 1
City began the season with a rare defeat against a Spurs side without Harry Kane, who Guardiola tried his best to bring to Manchester and eventually gave up. He has since put the transfer saga behind him and concentrated on developing his defence into the best in the league - a league-best xGA of 2.6 to show for it. City’s pressing has been relentless this season. They work as a team to win the ball back and launch attacks as quickly as possible. The win against Tuchel’s Chelsea after a dominant performance has City looking back to their best.
Beating Liverpool wouldn’t necessarily decide the league, but it would be a statement of intent from City and the confidence could see them go on another one of their winning runs. However, if they were to lose, it would be considered a bump on the road and shouldn’t overly bother Guardiola.
Man City Form: WWWDW
Man City League Position: 2
Liverpool will be without creative outlet Trent Alexander-Arnold going into this one. The scouser has two assists and two man of the match performances in the league already and his link-up play and understanding with Mohamed Salah on the right wing will be a big miss for the Reds. Firmino looks to be available after featuring in the midweek game against Porto.
Midfielder Thiago walked off the pitch with a calf injury against Crystal Palace and the Spaniard won’t be back before the international break, according to Klopp.
Guardiola confirmed there were no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to Merseyside, meaning Zinchenko and Gundogan will be the only absentees.
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3) : Alisson, Robertson, Matip, van Dijk, Gomez, Fabinho, Jones, Henderson, Mané, Firmino, Salah