In the biggest match of round 23 in the Premier League (PL), Liverpool play host to runaway league leaders Manchester City.
Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:
Both teams should enter this game on a high: they are the top two teams in terms of form in the league, and both teams progressed from their respective cup matches last week. The last piece of football Anfield saw before this was a dramatic, last ditch win against their bitter rivals Everton, so there should be quite an atmosphere here.
Whereas City have broken records on the pitch all season, Liverpool have spent January breaking records off the pitch. Early in the transfer window they made Virgil van Dijk the most expensive defender in the world, before it was announced that Philippe Coutinho would be sold to Barcelona for a club record sale of around £140 million. It remains to be seen whether the personnel changes will affect Jurgen Klopp’s men.
We mentioned form, and it is well worth the mention. City’s run of straight PL victories was stopped in the stalemate draw against Palace, but despite this they’ve still taken an incredible 31 out of a possible 33 points from 11 away games! Liverpool, on their hand, are on a 17-match unbeaten run.
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and it will be interesting to see how Liverpool will approach this game. There’s surely a few hot heads itching to get out there after the 5-0 hammering they received in Manchester back in September. Approaching the big match, Klopp had some honest words about the challenge ahead of them: “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.”
Players to watch: With Gabriel Jesus out with a long-term injury, there are no longer any doubts about who should lead the line for City. Sergio Aguero is his name, and scoring goals is his game -14 goals and four assists is the Argentine’s tally from 17 games so far.
One of only two players with more PL goals this season is Liverpool’s prolific goal scorer Mohamed Salah. The pacey Egyptian is a slight doubt ahead of this game, but if he’s fit, watch out: with 17 goals and five assists he’s been directly involved in more goals than any other PL player this season.
Stat attack: Liverpool are unbeaten at home in the PL, but have drawn close to 50% of the matches (5/11). This game will likely feature four of the top eight on the PL top scorer list (Salah, Aguero, Sterling, Firmino). The teams have averaged 3.5 (City) and 3.4 (Liverpool) goals per game this season – the highest numbers in the league!
Liverpool: A. Bogdan (knee injury), N. Clyne (lower back injury), J. Henderson (doubtful), A. Moreno (doubtful), D. Sturridge (doubtful)
Manchester City: P. Foden (ankle injury), Gabriel Jesus (knee injury), B. Mendy (knee injury), V. Kompany (doubtful).