Competition/Round: 2018/19 English Premier League Season – Matchday 8
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell
TV Info: Sky Sports Premier League (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA)
Live Stream: Sky Sports Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA)
Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK); SiriusXM FC, TalkSport Radio World (USA
Anfield. The Kop. Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool. Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.
These English titans and their world-renowned managers will go head to head on Sunday in what has been tipped as an early contender for “match of the season.”
For fifteen years, the Reds have dominated the Blues at Anfield. Liverpool have won 12 matches and have drawn 5 against since their loss against City in May 2003. Furthermore, Liverpool have beaten City in 15 of their last 21 meetings at Anfield in all competitions.
Liverpool certainly have the edge in this tie. In their previous five fixtures at Anfield, the Reds have outscored the Blues by 13 to 4. History shows that things do not look good for City.
Yet current form must be considered as both sides enter this match. After starting their 2018/19 English Premier League campaign on the front foot, Liverpool’s momentum has slowly declined. The Reds are winless in their last three matches, having been eliminated by Chelsea in the Carabao Cup last week. In addition, they lost to Napoli on a last minute goal on Matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League Group Stage. Nonetheless, Liverpool have the caliber to cause City problems over the weekend.
Manchester City’s start to the 2018/19 mirrors Liverpool’s. Like the Reds, the Blues are currently undefeated in the EPL having won six matches and drawn once. Moreover, they jointly lead the league table, albeit City are currently ahead due to their superior goal difference.
Despite their dominant domestic form, it is their Champions League campaign that has started slowly. The two sides have identical results in their respective groups, having scored three goals, conceded three and won only one of their opening two matches. Whilst this only a series of coincidences, these statistics demonstrate how comparable these two sides are to one another.
Liverpool have a series of injuries which will see them make adjustments in midfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who helped lead Liverpool’s onslaught against City in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League’s quarter-finals, remains a long-term absentee. Rhian Brewster and Naby Keita will also be unavailable for this match.
Adam Lallana has returned to training this week, but is unlikely to feature.
James Milner and Daniel Sturridge will have an opportunity to impress against their former club. Milner has benefited from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s absence, where he has secured himself in Liverpool’s midfield. Sturridge, on the other hand, has been scrapping for minutes. Although Sturridge has fallen behind Liverpool’s front three, the English striker has demonstrated his quality on the ball, most recently in the double-header against Chelsea in their EFL Cup and EPL matches last week.
Meanwhile, City face a serious test as they are without a natural left back. Whilst Benjamin Mendy has returned to training, it is unlikely the Frenchman will be selected to start on Sunday. Moreover, Fabian Delph is sidelined with an injury. This means that either Danilo or Oleksandr Zinchenko will have to fill in at left back. Given the pace and strength of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, it is believed Danilo be selected on Sunday.
Aside from Delph, Claudio Bravo and İlkay Gündoğan are also injured and will not feature in this match. Kevin De Bruyne has returned to training but is unlikely to start.
Finally, there is the issue of Raheem Sterling. The midfielder has started this season well, having scored four goals in six matches. Moreover, Sterling scored 18 goals in 33 EPL matches last season. Despite this form, he has been unable to replicate these successes when playing against his former club. Instead, it is as if he becomes an entirely different player. Unfortunately, due to his inability to compete against his former club, it is speculated he will not start in this match.
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Danilo; B. Silva, Fernandinho, D. Silva; Sané, Agüero, Mahrez
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Both sides had to travel to the European continent in midweek for their respective Champions League Group Stage fixtures. Whilst the outcomes of these games were different, fatigue will certainly play a part in this match.
As the statistics have shown, Liverpool have outplayed Manchester City at Anfield and it is certainly possible that history will repeat itself on Matchday 8. What is important to note, however, is that this is only the eighth match of the season’s 38 games. In other words, regardless of the outcome of this match, it is too early to tip either side as the eventual title winner.
Moreover, despite City’s poor form at Anfield, the Blues went on to win the English Premier League title on three occasions. In other words, this match should not be blown out of proportion. Could the victor of Sunday’s match go on to win the 2018/19 EPL title? This is certainly possible, however, history has also shown that the opposite is also true.
Nevertheless, history and statistics seem to be on Liverpool’s side. Therefore, it is believed the Reds will do enough to hold off a rampant City side in what should be an entertaining match. Advantage Liverpool.
Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City