Liverpool will be hoping to make some sort of amends on Sunday for the 5-0 humiliation suffered at the hands of Manchester City earlier this season.
It’s arguably one of the biggest games of the season so far as Liverpool, currently on an 18-game unbeaten run, host runaway Premier League leaders Man City at Anfield.
Today, January 14, by 5pm, the heavyweight clash will kick off.
Liverpool could give Virgil van Dijk his first Premier League start for the club after making a goalscoring debut in their FA Cup win over Everton.
Having missed the last two games through injury, Mohamed Salah is ready to hand Jurgen Klopp a major boost and make his return to Liverpool’s starting lineup.
“If nothing happens in the moment, Mo is back [on Sunday]. He is training completely normal and that’s very important for us,” said Klopp in his Friday press conference.
Salah, who has scored 17 goals in the league so far this season, has recovered from a groin strain and is fit to take his place in Klopp’s XI to play Man City.
Left-back Alberto Moreno could also make his return after missing all of Liverpool’s festive fixtures but Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge remain sidelined through injury.
“Hendo is back on the pitch and is training, but is not in team training so far. Alberto Moreno was in team training yesterday for the first time. Sunday might be a little early, he needs to do proper training,” said Klopp.
Liverpool are still waiting to hear from the FA after Mason Holgate accused Roberto Firmino of using racist language during last week’s FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield.
This will also be Liverpool’s first Premier League since Philippe Coutinho’s departure after the Brazilian completed a £142m move to Barcelona earlier this month.
Pep Guardiola will be without Gabriel Jesus who is facing at least three months out after suffering knee ligament damage in Man City’s 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
Claudio Bravo is set to make way for Ederson despite putting in an impressive performance in Man City’s League Cup win over Bristol City in midweek.
Phil Foden and Benjamin Mendy are also long-term injury absentees.
Speaking ahead of the game, Pep Guardiola said, “With Gabriel Jesus not being fit, we have to protect him a bit.Sergio is on fire, scoring goals again, but always in his career he scores goals. But we create chances”
“For me it is an honour to be able to train a player like Aguero. I understand that the moments when you do not play are sad. His great quality is in the area.”
“In the first half he was not very involved, but in the second half he had the ability to score two goals.”
“If we want to win something this year, the one that comes, and the others, the presence of Aguero is fundamental.”
Speaking on Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona, Jurgen Klopp said, “Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his team-mates this was a move he was desperate to make happen.”
“The club did everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of Liverpool was as attractive as moving to Spain.”
“It is with great reluctance that we – as a team and club – prepare to say farewell to a good friend, a wonderful person and a fantastic player in Coutinho.”
“The relationship we have for him means with a heavy heart we wish him well.”
On Manchester City, Klopp said, “It’s interesting to play against City. They play really good and if you don’t respect that, you have a problem.”
“But if you are not brave in your game, you will also have a problem. You need to show up.”
In his column for Sky Sports Football, Thierry Henry insisted Jurgen Klopp’s side have enough firepower.
“You still have Firmino, Salah, Mane – I mean, this is not a bad front three,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “You would obviously prefer to have that front with Coutinho as a No 10.”
“But [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain is there, [Adam] Lallana is back, but obviously you are going to miss Coutinho. The amount of goals he has scored from outside the box is just ridiculous. You have to move on though and Liverpool will always be Liverpool.”
“So yes, there are all the signs that are there to say that Liverpool might be the team to stop City,”
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League home games against Man City (W10 D4, since a 1-2 loss in May 2003), winning the last four in a row.
Manchester City won the reverse fixture 5-0 back in September – they’ve not done the league double against Liverpool in over 80 years, since the 1936-37 campaign that saw them win the first of their four top-flight titles.
The Reds have conceded just four goals in their last 13 Premier League home games (W7 D6 L0), keeping nine clean sheets in that time.
Liverpool haven’t won four Premier League games in a row since December 2016 – the fourth game of which was a home win against Manchester City. Only two teams have ever had a longer unbeaten Premier League run than Man City’s current streak of 30 without defeat – Arsenal (49 between 2003 and 2004) and Chelsea (40 between 2004 and 2005).No opposing manager has beaten Pep Guardiola more often than Jurgen Klopp in all competitions (4, level with Jose Mourinho).
Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool in October 2015, the Reds have won more points in Premier League games between the ‘big six’ than any other side (39). They also have more wins (9), fewer defeats (3) and more goals (40) than anyone else in these fixtures.
Mohamed Salah has been involved in 22 goals in his opening 21 Premier League games for Liverpool (17 goals, 5 assists); only two players have ever been involved in more in their opening 21 Premier League games for a club – Andy Cole at Newcastle and Dwight Yorke at Manchester United (23 each).
Sergio Aguero has scored more Premier League goals against Liverpool than any other Man City player (6 in 11 games). However, the Argentine is yet to score in five visits to Anfield in the competition – only at Selhurst Park has he played as many games without finding the net.
City have lost on their last four visits to Anfield and there is a sense that if one Premier League team can beat them this season, and prevent them being the new ‘Invincibles’ then it is Liverpool. There is an even greater sense that this is highly unlikely to end goalless. Both will go for it.