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Preview: Liverpool vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups
03/10/2021 11:34:31

A blockbuster Premier League clash takes place at Anfield on Sunday night, as dethroned champions Liverpool lock horns with current holders Manchester City.

The two powerhouses currently occupy first and second in the Premier League table after six matches, with Jurgen Klopp's side one point above their title rivals at the summit.

We say: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City

A battle between the Premier League's most potent attack and most resilient rearguard should serve up yet another classic between the two clubs, but the visitors' defence will surely be unable to hold out against the famed trio.

Even without a recognised number nine, Guardiola's side still boast plenty of quality going forward and should have made the net ripple at the Parc des Princes, so we expect the two managers to shake hands on a draw come the full-time whistle.

Match preview

Jurgen Klopp was keen to stress that Liverpool's previous thrashings of Porto at the Estadio do Dragao would count for nothing ahead of their Champions League tie, but the Reds still managed to replicate their past performances with a 5-1 drubbing of Sergio Conceicao's men on Tuesday.

The famed old guard in Mohamed Salah (2), Roberto Firmino (2) and Sadio Mane propelled their side to a dominant European success after their previous thrilling victory over AC Milan, but the Reds were frustrated by an inspired Brentford outfit in their most recent Premier League encounter.

Seeking to make the Brentford Community Stadium a fortress, Thomas Frank's side twice came back from a goal down to rescue a point against Klopp's side in front of their own fans, with Yoane Wissa netting the all-important sixth goal of the game in the 82nd minute of that 3-3 draw.

However, that point was enough to see Liverpool rise to the top of the rankings after their upcoming opponents did them a favour against Chelsea and Manchester United lost to Aston Villa, while their tally of 15 goals scored is also the highest in the division.

Klopp's side are also unbeaten in 10 competitive fixtures at Anfield and have scored at least three goals in each of their last six games since last month's 3-0 win over Leeds United, but Pep Guardiola's defence is already proving near-impenetrable in the league this term.

Seeking to navigate their first true test of the season with flying colours, Man City travelled to Stamford Bridge on the back of a disappointing goalless stalemate with Southampton, but Guardiola's men produced the goods when it mattered most.

Having kept the Chelsea attack at bay, Joao Cancelo's attempt found its way into the path of Gabriel Jesus with 53 minutes gone, and the Brazilian's effort went through a sea of bodies before trickling into the back of the net for a potentially pivotal 1-0 win.

However, Guardiola's midweek reunion with Lionel Messi was not as much of a joyous affair, as the Argentine struck his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain in some style after Idrissa Gueye's thunderous finish in a 2-0 Champions League win - already City's second away defeat of the season.

In spite of their European disappointment, City can certainly take solace in the fact that they have now gone five Premier League games without conceding since their opening-day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, with only one goal shipped representing the best record in the division so far.

There have been many tasty ties at Anfield down the years between these two clubs - with City marching to a 4-1 success in the 2020-21 season - and Liverpool can only boast one win from their last seven against Guardiola's side in all competitions, although that did come on Merseyside 3-1 in their triumphant 2019-20 season.

Team News

Liverpool manager Klopp has confirmed that Trent Alexander-Arnold will not be ready to feature in this crunch clash, with the right-back joining Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara on the sidelines.

James Milner should therefore continue at right-back for the time being, while Curtis Jones has put in some impressive displays in the middle of the park and ought to earn a start against the champions, even with Naby Keita's return to fitness.

The only real dilemma for Klopp is whether to start Diogo Jota or Firmino at the tip of the attack, and even though the Portuguese has held his place so far, the Brazilian may be preferred for a tie of this magnitude.

Meanwhile, City boss Guardiola does not expect Ilkay Gundogan to return to action before the international break, while Oleksandr Zinchenko is a major doubt but would not be likely to force his way in over Cancelo anyway.

Aymeric Laporte was given the nod for both the Chelsea win and the defeat to PSG, but John Stones is yet to feature this season and may not be thrown straight into an Anfield encounter.

Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus both seem set to return to the first XI here, with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling making way after a disappointing evening in Paris.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Alisson; Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Manchester City possible starting lineup:

Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, Foden; Jesus, De Bruyne, Grealish

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