10 key things to know ahead of Man City vs. Liverpool

The wait is finally over, Liverpool are back in competitive action after 40 days and their return takes them to Man City as their defence of the Carabao Cup continues.

Man City vs. Liverpool

Carabao Cup Fourth Round | Etihad Stadium
December 22, 2022 | 8pm (GMT)

It’s been a long wait but Jurgen Klopp‘s side are finally back and we return with domestic cup action against Pep Guardiola’s Man City.

Here are 10 key things you need to know ahead of kickoff.


1. Straight to penalties…if needed

2KE2AF8 Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher saves a penalty from Derby County's Craig Forsyth during the penalty shoot out of the Carabao Cup third round match at Anfield, London. Picture date: Wednesday November 9, 2022.

If the match ends in a draw after 90 minutes there will be no extra time and the game will be decided with a penalty shootout, as was the case for Liverpool in the previous round.

It is only in the semi-final and final that extra time will be played if required.

Caoimhin Kelleher seems to attract shootouts in this competition though, with five of his eight appearances ending in that manner, and, thankfully, he’s won four of the five.


2. Only 4 or 5 players for Pep?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 8, 2022: Manchester City's Erling Haaland applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Southampton FC at the Etihad Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pep Guardiola wasted little time in saying he had only “four or five (senior) players” for this match at the end of last week thanks to the World Cup – but that’s recently been boosted.

He had Kevin de Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez for a friendly while Nathan Ake and Rodri have recently returned to training to put them in contention to feature.

Sergio Gomez and Cole Palmer, regulars in City’s squad, are also available to Guardiola, who can line up his side with experience and youth.

Possible Man City XI: Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Ake, Gomez; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Palmer


3. CEOs unite to eliminate “unacceptable behaviour”

After a number of unsavoury flashpoints thanks to a minority group of fans at both clubs, both Liverpool and Man City CEOs have written a joint letter to fans to “help eliminate unacceptable behaviour.”

They ask for full support in tackling any “behaviours and actions that have no place in our game,” with those found responsible for any “unacceptable behaviour” to be issued bans.

“If we all stand together to report the behaviours and actions that cause harm – including inappropriate gestures, chanting, throwing of objects, as well as any and all forms of discrimination – then we can all concentrate on supporting our teams,” a section of the letter read.


4. How is the squad shaping up?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, October 3, 2022: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and captain Jordan Henderson during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Glasgow Rangers FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool welcomed back Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Fabinho back into the fold earlier this week after a short break following their World Cup exploits.

They could well feature but the expectation is none will have a prominent role having only just returned to team training at the start of the week.

Virgil van Dijk has been given an extended break while Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Arthur continue their rehab from respective long-term injuries.

Curtis Jones, meanwhile, is one week away from his return to team training and 18-year-old Kaide Gordon is making positive strides in his recovery.

The rest of the squad is in contention for Thursday, including a number of youngsters.


5. Third meeting in five months

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 30, 2022: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Community Shield friendly match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This is the third game between the two teams this season and the fifth match in the calendar year.

The Reds have won both meetings this season, first in the Community Shield and then a 1-0 win at Anfield in the league.

Across 2022 so far, Liverpool have won three while the other – the league match back in April – ended in a draw, making it clear who is out in front ahead of the fifth meeting of the year.


6. Who could be in Reds XI?

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Friday, December 16, 2022: Liverpool players line-up for a team group photograph before the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and AC Milan at the Al Maktoum Stadium. Back row L-R: goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, Joe Gomez, Stefan Bajcetic, Roberto Firmino, Joël Matip. Front row L-R: Harvey Elliott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcântara, Mohamed Salah. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp’s XI for the occasion may not look too dissimilar to the side that started against AC Milan in the final friendly in Dubai, only with Darwin Nunez taking over from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in attack.

While Alexander-Arnold only played 33 minutes at the World Cup, he’ll need time to settle back in and with Calvin Ramsay missing a few sessions of late, James Milner could be retained at right-back – it played out OK last time!

A start for Stefan Bajcetic in midfield is likely, with Harvey Elliott and Thiago on either side.

Possible Reds XI: Kelleher; Milner, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Bajcetic, Elliott, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Firmino


7. ‘Wow’

Despite this being the first pre-match press conference since mid-November, Liverpool stuck to their approach of Pepijn Lijnders taking on media duties.

And he had plenty to say – especially about the club’s exciting young talent:

“Yesterday we trained – the session was insane, it was really cool – and I walked off the pitch with Jurgen.

“He just stands next to me and whispers ‘wow, Stefan and Bobby Clark – they play so mature! They play like they are 25!’.

“And I say immediately, ‘and Ben Doak‘. Can you imagine if he was a signing? If he would do what he’s doing in the session?

“You all see he’s very quick, but if you are very quick and technical, that makes a really dangerous player.

“We are just really happy with three young ‘signings’.

“Then I have to pay a compliment to [head of senior academy recruitment] Matt Newbury, because he is our academy scout and he brings these players in.”


8. Did you know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah could become the first Liverpool player ever to score against Man City in three different competitions in the same season.

He, of course, scored in the Community Shield triumph in July before striking the only goal of the game during City’s visit to Anfield in October.

The No. 11 has nine goals in 16 appearances against City so far as a Red – he’s set to start, is he set to score another? Let’s hope so!


9. Coote with the whistle

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 8, 2020: Referee David Coote during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Crystal Palace FC at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

David Coote is the referee on Thursday evening, it is only his fourth game overseeing Liverpool – but he’s best known for his unbelievable VAR oversight when Virgil van Dijk was injured at Everton.

He has already reffed a City game this season, their 4-0 win over Bournemouth back in August.

There is no VAR official as the technology is not in use until the semi-final stage.


10. How can you follow the match?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 10, 2022: A general view of the City of Manchester Stadium (Etihad Stadium) seen before the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Man City vs. Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football in the UK – which is available to live stream here.

Coverage starts at 7pm (GMT) before the 8pm kick-off.

This Is Anfield’s live blog will also be in full swing from 7.15pm, with Sam Millne to keep you entertained and informed with some unapologetically biased views.

Up the Reds!