EPL! Liverpool VS Manchester City - Saturday (31/12/2016)

at 07:27 AM, 30 Dec 16 (1 year ago)
(19601 | Hero) (m)

Liverpool VS Manchester City
Saturday (31/12/2016)
18:30 (WAT)

ne can only imagine how many dustbins have been kicked and desks banged by Sky Sports’ department for hyperbole as they come to terms with not having the rights to show the New Year’s Eve game between Liverpool and Manchester City. After Red Monday and Mersey Monday this could have been Shit-hot Saturday. Instead BT Sport is broadcasting it and no doubt banking on a sizeable number of people tuning in before heading out to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

The appeal is obvious. Second against third and a game between two sides who exist almost permanently on the front foot. They are the Premier League’s highest and joint second-highest scorers this season with 84 league goals between them and, if their most recent matches are anything to go by, in no mood to slow down. In this era of super managers it is also difficult not to be seduced by everything that comes with Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola sharing a touchline for the first time since they were Bundesliga adversaries. The pair are, to use that well-worn cliche, box office.

Guardiola was at Anfield on Tuesday night to see Liverpool beat Stoke City 4-1 and from his seat in the main stand he may well have felt a sense of trepidation as the home side delivered a performance brimming with the attacking verve that has marked them out as genuine title-challengers. Yet the Catalan may also have taken encouragement from the manner in which Stoke opened the scoring after 12 minutes, with Jonathan Walters’ near-post header exposing the frailties which, for all Liverpool’s defensive improvements under Klopp, continue to undermine them. Uncertainty in the area and – you guessed it – a goalkeeping error.

Overall Liverpool defended well against Stoke but Sergio Agüero, available for Saturday’s encounter having served a four-game suspension, will fancy his chances of piercing the backline, as no doubt will Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, the rejuvenated Yaya Touré and the returning Raheem Sterling. But so, too, will Liverpool’s own attackers, partly because City have their own defensive issues and partly because they themselves are in such fine form. The win against Stoke took them to 45 Premier League goals for the season, six more than City from the same number of games played. The Merseyside club have also scored four or more goals at Anfield on four occasions and created enough opportunities against Stoke to surpass the 6-1 spanking they handed out to Watford in early November.

In a little over 14 months in charge Klopp has formed an outstandingly menacing unit, full of relentless and clever movement. Indeed it is telling that Daniel Sturridge, who alongside Luis Suárez was so crucial to Liverpool’s last title charge, in 2013-14, had to wait until the 70th minute of Tuesday’s match to score his first league goal of the season. His barren spell has gone relatively unnoticed as Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and others in red have run riot.

Liverpool will attack City, City will attack Liverpool, both defences will concede and the noise will be close to deafening. Cue, the sceptics will say, a drab goalless draw and that cannot be ruled out given these sides will be playing their 22nd and 28th matches of the season respectively, with both doing most of the passing, most of the pressing and most of the running in those encounters. Tiredness may well kick in and in that regard it was notable how sluggish City looked before scoring three times late on in their 3-0 win at Hull on Boxing Day. Ultimately, however, they got the job done to make it three successive wins for a side who appeared to be slipping into full-crisis mode when they lost 4-2 amid a shower of shambolic defending at Leicester on 10 December.

That fightback has been matched by Liverpool following their own troubling spell earlier in the month, when they lost 4-3 at Bournemouth and drew 2-2 with West Ham United in the space of seven days. Since then Klopp’s men have breezed past Middlesbrough, won the Merseyside derby in deserved and dramatic style and, on Tuesday, recovered handsomely from an early setback. Now comes arguably their toughest challenge of the season and a game both sides need to win, given that Chelsea seem almost certain to beat Stoke earlier in the day and, for a couple of hours at least, go nine points clear at the top. Neither Klopp nor Guardiola will want a draw and neither, it can safely be assumed, will be going out to get one.

Nothing is certain in football but Liverpool v Manchester City under the Anfield lights should deliver fireworks on a day when skies across the world will be littered with them.
diutopep at 11:11 AM, 31 Dec 16 (1 year ago)
(6181 | Gistmaniac) (f)
This 1 Will Be Somehow Tough But I don't See Man City Beating Liverpool @home.... @Worst Case It Will End In Draw!
naijaboyz247 at 05:56 PM, 2 Jan 17 (1 year ago)
(56 | Newbie) (m)
All said and done; liverpool has won again and on many occations at home against city. As long as Pep continues with his favouritism mind set, doing better than his predecessor to win the elusive league might not be too soon....  only time will tell.


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