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Vital showdown as Reds need to keep the pace – Liverpool vs. Man City Preview

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It’s nothing short of a must-win clash for Liverpool as they host Man City, with the result crucial to the shaping of the Premier League table.

Liverpool vs. Man City

Sunday, February 7, 2021 – 4.30pm (GMT)
Anfield
Premier League (23)
Referee: Michael Oliver


It’s just one of those seasons, isn’t it?

Liverpool once again gave to the poor when they fell to defeat to then 16th-placed Brighton – but now it is time to take from the rich.

After two back-to-back victories in the top-flight, there was growing optimism the third would place the Reds in the best possible situation once Pep Guardiola’s side arrived at Anfield.

However, it was not to be and the clash has taken on greater importance with City already having amassed a seven-point buffer at the top in addition to having a game in hand.

It means a victory here is vital if Liverpool have any desires of successfully retaining their crown, with City having put their foot on the accelerator after a sluggish start.

Liverpool are not only able to look up, however, with teams breathing down their neck aiming to break into the top four – meaning a swift Anfield turnaround is in order.

The loss to the Seagulls made it back-to-back home losses in the Premier League for the first time since 2012 after an exceptional 68-game unbeaten run.

But it is time to restart the streak and what better time to start than against City?

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker (L) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City 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. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds are sweating over a number of key faces for this one, with the days leading up to the clash no doubt imperative to the final decision.

It appears Alisson is expected to slot straight back into the side after illness forced his absence against Brighton as Klopp confirmed he “feels much better” and has taken part in training.

It’s a major boost, but the manager was coy on the chances of Fabinho and Sadio Mane making their return as by Friday they were to only participate in “parts of team training.”

The duo had sustained minor muscle injuries over the last week, with the Brazilian missing the last three games and the No. 10 the last two.

Thankfully, Klopp’s options have been boosted at the back with the arrival of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak – the latter of whom is now available for selection after receiving international clearance.

Klopp did not commit to saying that the 20-year-old would be in the XI for his debut as in “an ideal world” there would be time to settle and absorb the demands of the role with the Reds.

No new concerns arose from the defeat to Brighton and while Diogo Jota posted a positive update on his recovery from a knee injury he is still expected to be a number of weeks away, while Naby Keita remains sidelined.

For Man City, they will continue to be without Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Nathan Ake.

Possible City XI: Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko; Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Mahrez. Jesus, Sterling

 

Last 5 at Home to Man City (All Competitions)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 3-1 – November 2019 (Fabinho, Salah, Mane; B. Silva)
Drew 0-0 – October 2018
Won 4-0 – April 2018 (Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane)
Won 4-3 – January 2018 (Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Mane, Salah; Sane, Silva, Gundogan)
Won 1-0 – December 2016 (Wijnaldum)

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mané is all smiles as he shakes hands with Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola, who had accused him of being a diver, after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That Man City have not won at Anfield since May 2003, in all competitions, when a Nicolas Anelka double cancelled out Milan Baros’ opener.

It is a run which stretches 19 games, with Liverpool winning 13 and the other six ending in a draw – with the aggregate score reading 37-17.

Here’s hoping the run extends to the 20-game mark come Sunday evening.

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 3, 2021: Brighton & Hove Albion's Steven Alzate celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Brighton
Won 3-1 vs. West Ham
Won 3-1 vs. Tottenham
Lost 3-2 vs. Man United
Lost 1-0 vs. Burnley

Man City – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 2-0 vs. Burnley
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 5-0 vs. West Brom
Won 3-1 vs. Cheltenham
Won 2-0 vs. Aston Villa

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp spoke of his desire not to see the recent results at Anfield blown out of proportion ahead of City’s visit:

“It’s not that I can say, ‘don’t forget now boys’. Everyone knows it’s Anfield, we love playing there still.

“It’s a great place, the best place we can imagine so it’s all good. But we didn’t win the last two games – I know that.

“But we were not interested in winning 68 in a row so why should we now make the two we didn’t win bigger than it is. I don’t think I could sit here if we lost 68 in a row or something like that, that would be really sensational.

“So it’s all about trying again, being positive, enjoying football – all these kind of things – and make it a fortress again.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 12, 2020: A general view 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)

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

Henry Jackson will be keeping you entertained and up to date with all the action on our matchday blow, starting from 3.45pm.

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