Saturday 21st November – 17:30 – Etihad Stadium
Premier League football returns after the international break, and Jurgen Klopp faces his toughest test yet as Liverpool boss as his side visit league leaders Manchester City. The German suffered his first defeat in the job in the last round of fixtures, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace at Anfield meaning that they dropped to tenth in the table. City meanwhile could only manage to draw 0-0 against strugglers Aston Villa, but remain top of the table level on points with Arsenal. Saturday evening looks set to be a game of reunions, with Raheem Sterling and James Milner swapping clubs this summer, with Daniel Sturridge also set to face his former employers.
- Sergio Aguero is fit after recovering from a hamstring injury, but is unlikely to play the entirety of the 90 minutes.
- Fabian Delph and Pablo Zabaleta have trained this week and could feature, but David Silva will not be risked because of an ankle injury.
- Vincent Kompany (calf), Wilfried Bony (hamstring) and Samir Nasri (hamstring) are all ruled out.
- Jurgen Klopp will make a late decision on whether to include fit-again striker Daniel Sturridge. The striker has not played under Klopp and has only managed 242 minutes all season because of hip and knee injuries.
- Midfielders Jordan Henderson (broken foot) and Jordan Rossiter (hamstring) are set to resume training with the squad next week but Milner (hamstring) and Jordon Ibe (knee) have recovered from problems which forced them out of international duty.
- The Reds’ long-term absentees are Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez, Danny Ings and Mamadou Sakho, all of whom have knee injuries.
The Key Battle: Raheem Sterling vs Nathaniel Clyne
There has been plenty made this week about Raheem Sterling’s first match against Liverpool since his controversial exit in the summer. The 20-year-old will be desperate to prove himself against his former club, and tasked with stopping him will be Nathaniel Clyne, assuming Sterling occupies his normal left-sided role.
The England teammates will know a lot about each other’s respective styles, and it promises to be a fascinating tussle. Sterling has had a decent start to life in Manchester, most notably scoring a hat-trick against Bournemouth, and his game looks as though it is steadily going up a gear.
In Clyne, however, the youngster will come up against one of the most defensively-sound right-backs in the business, and will do well to get the better of him. Although Liverpool’s summer signing will test Sterling’s defensive expertise with forward bursts of his own, it is in City’s attacking third where the battle will be at its most pivotal. [This Is Anfield]
Manchester City wins = 41 / Liverpool wins = 82 / Draws = 41
*According to http://www.lfconline.com
Last Meeting: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City (1st March 2015)
Philippe Coutinho scored a stunning winner as Liverpool dented Manchester City’s Premier League title defence with a narrow victory at Anfield. Jordan Henderson’s curling effort put the Reds ahead before Edin Dzeko finished off a slick move to equalise. But Brazil midfielder Coutinho capped a fine display with the decisive goal when he struck from 25 yards. [BBC]
Manuel Pellegrini: “One of the most important things in important games is to have a cold mind – not a cold heart but a cold mind. It’s so important and I hope we can do it.”
Jurgen Klopp: “Yes of course we can play against City; of course we can beat them. We beat them with Dortmund and drew in Manchester. They had more money but that’s not what’s important. Money is only one part of success. The rest is work.”
The Referee – Jonathan Moss
- Last Premier League game: West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea (24th October 2015) – 7 yellow cards, 1 red card
- Last Manchester City game: Manchester City 1-1 Hull City (7th February 2015) – 6 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Liverpool game: Liverpool 3-2 Aston Villa (26th September 2015) – 0 yellow cards, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
There have been at least three goals in each of the last six Premier League games between these sides – with a total of 23 goals scored.
Where can I watch it?
Sky Sports 1 will be showing the game live from 5pm, with kick-off half an hour later. The highlights will then be on Match of the Day this evening on BBC One at 10:20pm.
My Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
The majority of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool games have ended in draws so far, and I’m going for that again today. The return of Sergio Aguero should give City a boost, but he perhaps won’t have the biggest impact as he may not be 100% fit. None the less, I’m backing the Argentine to score and give the hosts the lead, before Philippe Coutinho equalises.