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Liverpool vs. Man City: 10 key things to know ahead of huge 1st vs. 2nd clash

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The latest chapter in Liverpool’s rivalry with Man City will be written on Sunday, in a gargantuan Premier League clash at Anfield.

Liverpool vs. Man City

Premier League (28) | Anfield
March 10, 2024 | 3.45pm (GMT)


Jurgen Klopp‘s side face their most important match of the season to date, with another thrilling title race underway.

City head to Anfield trailing Liverpool by one point – meanwhile, Arsenal are two behind the Reds – so a win for either would be significant.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of the game.

 

1. Liverpool face season-defining game

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 10, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Some games feel bigger than the rest and Sunday’s meeting with City falls into that category.

It is impossible to downplay the visit of Pep Guardiola’s team, with the eventual outcome at Anfield likely to have a major say in who lifts the Premier League title.

As mentioned, a victory for either team would be a major shot in the arm, while a draw would play nicely into Arsenal‘s hands.

The Gunners could, and should, go top of the table with a win at home to Brentford on Saturday, adding further pressure to the City match.

 

2. Man City in ominous mood

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 30, 2023: Manchester City's substitute Kevin De Bruyne warms-up during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Sheffield United FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Worryingly for Liverpool, City appear to have found their groove, as they often do once the business end of the season arrives.

The return of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland has predictably seen them go up a gear, winning nine of their last 10 league games.

Unlike the Reds, Guardiola also has the luxury of having an almost injury-free squad – Jack Grealish is missing and Jeremy Doku is in doubt – which is something Klopp has only been able to dream of this season.

City will go into Sunday’s match as the favourites to win the Premier League for the fourth year in a row.

 

3. Who’s injured for Liverpool?

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 8, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold looks dejected as Brighton & Hove Albion score the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the American Express Community Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool look in a healthier position injury-wise, certainly compared to earlier in the year, but there are still key men who are out this weekend.

Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota won’t be back until after the international break, while Ryan Gravenberch is gradually nearing a return.

Ibrahima Konate limped out of the 5-1 win away to Sparta Prague, and while Klopp is hopeful the Frenchman will be fit, a scan will determine his availability for the weekend and beyond.

Mohamed Salah is pushing for a first start for Liverpool since Newcastle at home on New Year’s Day, with Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez in line to play, too.

 

4. Gomez to challenge for the XI?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 29, 2023: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Nottingham Forest FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Plenty of the starting lineup picks itself, but there are also certain positions where competition looks strong.

Conor Bradley and Andy Robertson are favourites to start at full-back, but Joe Gomez represents a strong option in either position after being withdrawn after 45 minutes on Thursday.

Endo, Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister should make up the midfield, while Cody Gakpo, after five successive starts, could make way for Salah in attack.

And Jarell Quansah is the obvious choice to take over from Konate should the Frenchman be unable to feature.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Bradley, Quansah, Van Dijk, Gomez; Endo, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister; Salah, Diaz, Nunez

 

5. Who will start for Man City?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 25, 2023: Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As noted, injuries are of no concern to City at the moment, barring Grealish, so Guardiola will be able to name his strongest possible starting lineup.

Changes were even made against FC Copenhagen in midweek, allowing key figures to rest their legs before the weekend action.

City could field the same XI that beat Man United 3-1 last Sunday, with Rodri, Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne making up a world-class midfield.

Doku, if passed fit, and an in-form Phil Foden will likely be out wide, while Haaland will lead the line, as he prepares for a mouthwatering battle with Virgil van Dijk.

Predicted Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake; Stones, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Foden, Alvarez; Haaland

 

6. Klopp doesn’t need to make Anfield call

Speaking to the media on Friday, Klopp talked up the Anfield atmosphere on Sunday, whether rivals like it or not:

“The atmosphere our people can create, am I allowed to say it’s second to none or are people offended by that?

“It’s really good, massive, energising.

“These are games you want to play, the games you want to get a ticket for, and the games you want to watch. Anfield, for us, is a massive, massive factor.

“It would be a bit embarrassing today if I would say, ‘Please help us.’ People will”

 

7. Record-breaker Rodri City’s key man

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, January 27, 2023: Manchester City's Rodrigo Hernández Cascante 'Rodri' during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City FC and Arsenal FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

De Bruyne and Haaland may be among the best players in the world currently, but Rodri remains the first name on City’s team sheet.

The Spaniard is an elite defensive midfielder in the mould of Barcelona and legend Sergio Busquets, and his vast influence is summed up by one statistic.

Rodri is now unbeaten in his last 60 games across all competitions, which is the record for a Premier League player, and Liverpool will look to bring it an end to it on Sunday!

It speaks volumes that City’s three league defeats this season have all come without him available.

 

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)

City may have been the dominant force in the English game during the Guardiola era, but their woes at Anfield have continued.

Incredibly, they have only beaten Liverpool once on their own turf since way back in 2003 – even that was behind closed doors in 2020/21, as they sealed a 4-1 victory.

Last season’s fixture saw the Reds clinch a 1-0 victory thanks to a superb Salah solo effort, even though they were in poor form and City were resounding favourites.

From a Liverpool perspective, Sunday would be a dreadful time for City to win in front of fans for the first time in over 20 years.

 

9. Michael Oliver under the spotlight

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 30, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) speaks with fourth official referee Michael Oliver during the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Michael Oliver has been confirmed as Sunday’s referee at Anfield – in fairness, he is arguably the pick of a bad bunch of officials in the Premier League.

This will be the 39-year-old’s fourth Reds game of the season, with the 3-1 win at Wolves back in September being his first.

He also oversaw the goalless draw at home to Man United and the recent 4-1 triumph away to Brentford, sending off Diogo Dalot in the former.

 

10. Follow the match with TIA

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 28, 2022: Liverpool supporters welcome the team bus with smoke bombs before the UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg game between Liverpool FC and Villarreal CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs. Man City is unsurprisingly Sky Sports’ pick of the action on Sunday, with coverage getting underway at 3pm (UK). Kickoff is at 3.45pm.

The earlier than usual start on Sunday comes after a request from Merseyside police.

Harry McMullen will be nervously guiding you through the action on TIA’s matchday live blog from 3pm – here’s hoping there are positive updates galore.

Come on you Reds!