Etihad vengeance to extend Reds’ early buffer at the top – Man City vs. Liverpool Preview

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A meeting of former champions and reigning champions proves all-important once more as Liverpool make the short trip to face Man City in the Premier League.

Man City vs. Liverpool

Sunday, November 8, 2020 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Etihad Stadium
Premier League (8)
Referee: Craig Pawson


It’s a battle which has largely defined the top tier of English football in recent years, with the two teams the dominant forces in the division.

This time around, Jurgen Klopp’s side are the reigning champions while Man City are the ones left chasing the Reds.

And Liverpool head to the Etihad Stadium brimming with confidence after notching five successive wins, with the last being a 5-0 thumping of Atalanta in the Champions League which saw the in-form Diogo Jota net a stunning hat-trick.

It was arguably the team’s best performance this calendar year and saw them put one foot into the last 16 of the competition.

Man City find themselves in a similar set of circumstances in Europe with a 100 percent record, but their Premier League efforts to date have not been without fault having dropped points three times in six games.

It leaves Liverpool sitting five points ahead of Guardiola’s men, who have a game in hand, and sets up another tantalising meeting between the two clubs.

Victory here would provide yet another blow to the Reds’ rivals who had hoped that a string of injuries to key players would have derailed their hopes of retaining the title.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara (L) and manager Jürgen Klopp walk back to the dressing room at full time after an injury time winning goal was disallowed following a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is starting to look up for Liverpool on the injury front with Klopp now able to turn to Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Kostas Tsimikas for the tie after the trio returned to the fold in midweek.

Thiago, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the clash as he requires an extended period of full training under his belt following on from the knee injury sustained at Everton.

Klopp said: “With these kinds of injuries you always look day-to-day. The longer he’s out the longer he has to train until we consider him again as a starting lineup player.”

It provides greater options for the boss in what is the Reds’ seventh game in 22 days, with Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams also in the wings should the club continue to opt for caution over Matip – although that is unlikely.

Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain as the long-term absentees, while Fabinho is still on track to return after the international break.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Joel Matip during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But the big question for this fixture is how the manager will set up his attack in the wake of Jota’s remarkable run of form which has seen him net six times in four games.

Will the nod be given to Roberto Firmino or the Portugal international?

Sergio Aguero, meanwhile, is not expected to feature for Man City with a hamstring strain while Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy are both sidelined for the meeting.

Possible Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, B. Silva; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus

 

Last 5 Away to Man City (All Competitions)

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 3, 2019: Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (L) and Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Etihad Stadium. Manchester City won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Lost 4-0 – July 2020 (De Bruyne pen, Sterling, Foden, Oxlade-Chamberlain OG)
Lost 2-1 – January 2019 (Aguero, Sane; Firmino)
Won 2-1 – April 2018 (Jesus; Salah, Firmino)
Lost 5-0   –  September 2017 (Aguero, Jesus x2, Sane x2)
Drew 1-1 – March 2017 (Aguero; Milner)

 

Etihad Stadium

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 2, 2020: A general view during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. This was Liverpool's first game as Premier League 2019/20 Champions. (Pic by Propaganda)

Capacity: 55,097

* Game to be played behind closed doors

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold takes a throw-in during the opening FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since Trent Alexander-Arnold made his debut for the club in October 2016, he has registered an astonishing 36 assists across all competitions.

It is more than any other defender playing for a Premier League club throughout that time, with fellow full-back partner Andy Robertson not far behind on 35.

Trent’s run, however, has seen a goal contribution evade him against City in the seven games he has featured in across all competitions – a run which includes three wins and four defeats.

So here’s hoping he adds his first against City this time around in his fourth career win over Guardiola’s side.

 

Form

BERGAMO, ITALY - Tuesday, November 3, 2020: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (C) celebrates after scoring the first goal with team-mates during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at the Stadio di Bergamo. (Pic by Simone Arveda/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 5-0 vs. Atalanta
Won 2-1 vs. West Ham
Won 2-0 vs. Midtjylland
Won 2-1 vs. Sheffield United
Won 1-0 vs. Ajax

Man City – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-0 vs. Olympiakos
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 3-0 vs. Marseille
Drew 1-1 vs. West Ham
Won 3-1 vs. Porto

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp acknowledged his enjoyment at the challenge of sending his team out for “one of the most difficult games” in the world:

“It’s a very, very difficult game – hopefully for both teams, because both teams will perform on a high level,” he said.

“We’re that early in the season and so many things are different this year. Nothing can be compared with last year, nothing can be compared with the year before.

“Everything is different and we just have to make sure that we get through very intense periods, line up the fittest players and play the best football that we can.

“In this case, it is against Man City, which is obviously one of the most difficult games to play in the world. That’s it pretty much.

“I enjoy these kinds of games, I enjoy the preparation for the games, but it doesn’t make it easier. It’s just a really tough task.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

Man City vs. Liverpool will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 4pm (GMT) ahead of the 4.30pm kickoff.

Henry Jackson will be keeping you entertained and up to date with all the action on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 3.45pm (GMT).

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