Liverpool face Man City in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday, in what could prove to be one of the great Anfield nights.
Liverpool vs. Man City
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 — 7.45pm (BST)
Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg
Referee: Felix Brych (GER)
Last Meeting: Liverpool 4-3 Man City
Put simply: this could be Liverpool’s biggest European night for a decade.
The Champions League hasn’t been a regular enough fixture in the Reds’ calendar in recent years, but they are officially back at Europe’s top table, dining out with the very best the continent has to offer.
Having conquered the group stage and breezed past Porto in the last 16, a fantastic City outfit await in the quarters, in a mouthwatering tie.
Pep Guardiola’s men have been magnificent this season, cruising towards the Premier League title and playing some of the best football ever produced by an English side.
It is wholly understandable why they go into the two-legged affair as favourites to progress to the semis, but they will be afraid of Liverpool too.
The Reds ended their unbeaten league run back in January, with the eventual 4-3 scoreline kind on City, and Jurgen Klopp has a history of causing Guardiola’s teams big problems.
Few sides in Europe are more aesthetically pleasing than these two, and if both hit top gear a deafening Anfield could witness something special.
It is sure to be a night full of tension, quality, drama and maybe even controversy—victory for Liverpool would give them a wonderful chance of making the last four.
Liverpool are without Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Joel Matip, Emre Can, Ben Woodburn and Adam Lallana on Wednesday.
Matip is set to undergo thigh surgery, likely ending his season, while Lallana picked up a hamstring problem at Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Can has failed to recover from a back injury, which acts as a big blow to Klopp given the 24-year-old’s ability to perform in the big games.
Picking the right starting lineup is vital, and the manager has a few key decisions to make.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to continue at right-back, but he has struggled defensively of late and Leroy Sane will be a huge threat. Nathaniel Clyne is an option.
Dejan Lovren will replace Matip to partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, with Klavan also sidelined with a minor problem.
With Can set to miss out Jordan Henderson will be included, meaning there are two more midfield spaces to fill.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s match-changing second-half cameo at Selhurst Park means he should start, and with Gini Wijnaldum struggling for form James Milner should get the nod.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fit and firing, and hold the key to Liverpool getting a positive result.
Guardiola has a near fully fit squad to choose from, barring long-term absentees Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph.
Sergio Aguero is out, however, likely returning for Saturday’s visit of Man United, with a win securing City the Premier League title.
Last 5 at Home to Man City (All Competitions)
Liverpool 4-3 Man City – January 14, 2018 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Mane, Salah; Sane, B. Silva, Gundogan)
Liverpool 1-0 Man City – December 31, 2016 (Wijnaldum)
Liverpool 3-0 Man City – March 2, 2016 (Lallana, Milner, Firmino)
Liverpool 2-1 Man City – March 1, 2015 (Henderson, Coutinho; Dzeko)
Liverpool 3-2 Man City – April 13, 2014 (Sterling, Skrtel, Coutinho; Silva, Johnson OG)
Did You Know?
There have been 19 meetings between Liverpool and City since the last 0-0 draw in all competitions.
That stalemate came at the Etihad back in February 2010, as Rafa Benitez’s Reds dropped two more points in their stuttering 2009/10 campaign.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Crystal Palace
Won 5-0 vs. Watford
Lost 2-1 vs. Man United
Drew 0-0 vs. Porto
Won 2-0 vs. Newcastle
Man City – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-1 vs. Everton
Won 2-0 vs. Stoke
Lost 2-1 vs. Basel
Won 1-0 vs. Chelsea
Won 3-0 vs. Arsenal
Speaking at Anfield on Tuesday afternoon, Klopp insisted Liverpool have a strong chance of victory if they are on their game:
“We know what we have to do, in the end we will know that, but it’s about doing it, 100 percent,” he said.
“It’s a big game against one of the best teams in Europe, if not the best team in Europe at the moment.
“That’s nice, to be honest. We are not coincidentally in the quarter-finals, we qualified for that.
“We’re there and yes we beat Man City here a few months ago, but we knew before the game that it’s possible, it’s only a little difficult to do it.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The game is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm (BST), with kick off at 7.45pm.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is sure to be a tense spectator, with the former captain swapping the U18s dugout for the BT studio at Anfield.
Henry Jackson will be running our matchday live blog from 6.45pm, as he attempts to conquer his nerves and talk you through the action.