Before we head into the third international break of the season, game week 12 serves up a mouth-watering clash as the league’s top two teams, Liverpool and Manchester City, do battle at Anfield in the biggest game of the Premier League season so far.
Champions City were the only team Liverpool lost to in the top flight last season as the Merseyside club finished second by a single point. But Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have a six-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s team, after both sides came back from a goal behind to beat Aston Villa and Southampton respectively.
The game could hold massive ramifications for the rest of the campaign and is almost a must-win for City as they will fall nine points behind if they lose. However, a win for Guardiola’s side will haul them right back into the reckoning to win a third successive Premier League title.
The Citizens have a miserable record at Anfield, but can they secure victory on Sunday? Find out what our Editor thinks.
Man City 15/10
Liverpool currently hold a six-point advantage over Manchester City after 11 games and can stretch that to nine with victory at home this weekend – and a nine-point lead may be too much to overhaul, even for a team as impressive as City.
The Reds have turned Anfield into a fortress and they haven’t lost there in 46 Premier League matches stretching back to April 2017. How can any visiting team be favourites there?!
The Reds went the whole of last season unbeaten at home and have started this campaign in scintillating form. They are yet to taste defeat, winning 10 of their 11 matches in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s deadly front-three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have scored 14 goals between them in the league this season and the trio will look to wreak havoc on City’s defence.
The Reds have already taken 10 points from the Premier League’s traditional ‘big six’, beating Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, but were held to a draw away at Manchester United – still the only side to have taken a point from them this season.
They’ve also beaten Leicester, looking well in contention for a top-four finish, courtesy of James Milner’s injury-time spot-kick.
Klopp’s men will be confident of beating City on Sunday as they aim to stretch their current six-point lead to a considerably more daunting nine.
Manchester City are really capable of beating any team in their own backyard, but it would even surprize them to be priced up as favourites to win at Anfield.
Being labelled ‘favourites’ at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium would even be right, but no visiting team in world football right now should be installed as favourites ahead of Liverpool at their intimidating Anfield fortress.
Guardiola, as brilliant as he’s been since moving to England in 2016, has failed to win in his four trips to Liverpool. Last season, the Spanish boss picked up his first point at Anfield in a goalless draw to avoid suffering his third consecutive league defeat – and City’s sixth – away to Klopp’s men.
In the 2017/18 campaign, Guardiola’s side were 4-1 down at Liverpool in the closing stages of the game before late goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan restored some respectability to the scoreline to end the match 4-3.
The Citizens also suffered a heavy 3-0 loss away to Klopp’s men in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in the same season, and in Guardiola’s first campaign, City lost 1-0 in the league at Anfield, with Georginio Wijnaldum scoring a powerful header.
You have to think all the way back to May 2003 to remember the last time City beat Liverpool at Anfield in the league. Nicolas Anelka bagged a brace in that game as Kevin Keegan’s team secured a 2-1 victory over Gerard Houllier’s Reds.
Guardiola has an enviable wealth of talent at his disposal. De Bruyne, Aguero, Silva, Sterling, Bernardo… the names just roll off the tongue. But the 48-year-old Spaniard will need to pull out every trick in the book to beat Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Man City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling.
Prediction: Liverpool (17/10)
I spoke a lot about City’s struggles away to Liverpool. But besides looking at that, Guardiola’s side haven’t been at their majestic best this season. There’s a chance Leicester and/or Chelsea could be above them in the Premier League table heading into the international break. City are also likely to be without captain and talisman David Silva for this match. Anfield is a fortress and I’m confident Klopp’s men will make another statement with a victory over the champions.
You might like to check out our Soccer / Football App