The international break is finally over, and Liverpool’s return does not get much bigger than this, with a trip to Man City and a chance to end a long overdue wait for an Etihad win.
Man City vs. Liverpool
Premier League (13) | Etihad Stadium
November 25, 2023 | 12.30pm (GMT)
Jurgen Klopp‘s squad have been spread across the world for the last fortnight, and while preparation time for their league return is limited, they will not need any motivation for this clash.
The Reds had to win their last match against Brentford and did just that, but this is the biggest test so far for Klopp’s new-look side.
Here are 10 key things to know ahead of the Reds’ trip to the blue side of Manchester.
1. First meets second
We have been here before, as just one point separates the two teams in first and second.
They’re evenly matched throughout the league campaign so far, but interestingly Liverpool have a better defensive record than City, having conceded 10 compared to their 12.
Liverpool know the importance of taking points off City when the opportunity comes around, and this time is no different – they cannot rely on others doing the job for them.
Some would snap your hand off for a draw, but let’s imagine what a win could mean…
2. They’re not all going to miss out, are they?
The international break brought news of one player withdrawing from international duty after another, leaving City with eight ‘injury’ doubts in the lead up to the Reds’ visit.
Ederson, Nathan Ake, Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes all left their national teams, while both Rodri and Erling Haaland missed a match for their country.
Of course, fans are skeptical over their injuries as the news was more than convenient in light of Liverpool’s upcoming visit.
Only time will tell regarding their involvement with a handful already back in training, but we do expect to see at least Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones and Sergio Gomez miss out.
3. The return of the injured Reds
Klopp was without eight first-team players for the win over Brentford prior to the break, but he has been handed a boost for the short trip down the M62.
4. Lousy Etihad record, 1 in 15 years!
There was the 11mm goal-line clearance, that Adam Lallana miss and wicked deflections in the time since, the odds always feel stacked against us.
The one league victory in the last 15 years does not make for good reading, and the picture does not change all that much across all competitions as it’s three wins in their last 15.
To add to the challenge, City have not lost at the Etihad in over a year – Brentford were the last team to inflict defeat in November 2022.
5. Yet another 12.30 start
Three international breaks, three 12.30pm kickoffs for Liverpool after each one – you can see why Klopp has been frustrated!
There is little to no preparation time for what is one of, if not the biggest fixture in the Premier League calendar and it left the manager saying, “the people making the decisions, they cannot feel football, it is just not possible.”
The match is to be shown live on Sky Sports and they wanted it in the 5.30pm slot, but they were not given permission by the ‘local safety advisory group’ after previous incidents during the fixture.
Liverpool are two wins from two at 12.30 this season, imagine the scenes if they make it three.
6. Time for Salah’s big milestone?
Mohamed Salah needs just two more goals to reach 200 for Liverpool, a tally only four other players in club history have reached.
The Egyptian has 198 strikes in 322 appearances heading into this fixture, and he has scored against City 11 times previous, so do not rule him out of reaching a double century on Saturday!
Salah has been in incredible goalscoring form this season, he has eight in his last eight outings for Liverpool and there would be nothing better than seeing his arms aloft at the Etihad.
7. Does Nunez start?
Three goals and three assists across his last eight outings for Liverpool, plus three goals with Uruguay during the break, make for a confident Darwin Nunez heading into this clash.
Previously, one would have expected Klopp to turn to Cody Gakpo up front but you feel the chaos and energy of Nunez can exploit City’s defence and find joy.
Diogo Jota, after just 90 minutes with Portugal, is fresh for the left wing, but the manager faces a decision in every department with an intense 90 minutes to consider.
Here are just some of the selections he will need to consider: Tsimikas or Gomez? Konate or Matip?Jones or Gravenberch? And Diaz or Jota?
Predicted Reds XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones; Salah, Jota, Nunez
8. Guardiola vs. Klopp for the 29th time
This is the 29th meeting between Guardiola and Klopp, the most each have faced against any other manger – and they both hold records against one another.
No one has beat a Guardiola side more than Klopp (12), and no one has notched more victories against Klopp than Guardiola (11).
Since they have both been in England, the record stands at eight wins for Liverpool and seven for City, plus a further five draws.
9. A good record with this ref
It is difficult these days not to have had a run in with a particular referee, but the Reds have a good record when Chris Kavanagh takes charge.
He may be from Greater Manchester, but the 15 times he has overseen Liverpool we have won 13 and lost just two – and, in fact, the Reds have won their last six with him as the referee. Let’s hope that continues!
The VAR on Saturday is Stuart Attwell.
10. How to watch City vs. Liverpool live!
As ever, if you fancy some biased commentary then join us for our matchday live blog from 11.45am, Sam Millne is at the helm and will keep you updated and entertained throughout.
The nerves are already building. Into these, Reds!