Manchester City recorded only their fifth win at Everton in the Premier League to move to within one win of clinching the Premier League title, which they can do next Saturday at home to Manchester United.
But before that, the blues take on Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie on Wednesday. And it’s fair to say that Liverpool have an even better record against the blues than their Mersey rival.
You have to go back as far as May 2003 to see City’s last win at Anfield, a 2-1 victory courtesy of a Nicolas Anelka brace, include a 93rd
So it’s safe to say that Anfield is not a happy hunting ground, although sandwiched between the numerous defeats, were many credible draws, none of which were 0-0. There are always goals where these two teams are involved!
City’s home record against the Reds is considerably better, with Liverpool only winning four away games in the Premier League at the home of the blues, and some may say this is where City’s best chance of winning this tie lies.
However, this is the Champions League, league form and statistics are thrown out of the window. As previously seen in this competition, pretty much anything can happen. It was just two years ago that City faced PSG and not many people gave us a fighting chance against them. However a strike from Kevin de Bruyne gave City a vital away goal, while an equaliser from Fernandinho with eighteen minutes left gave the advantage to City, and they completed the job with a 1-0 win at the Etihad in the return leg.
City also seem to be made of stern stuff these days. Despite being 4-1 down at Anfield in January, City rallied to claw it back to 4-3. In previous years, they would have just rolled over, accepted defeat and try to limit the damage. But not anymore. Guardiola has instilled a winning mentality into this team, and while results don’t always go as plan, Burnley and Palace away for example, there is still a determination to succeed. And that will no doubt be on display on Wednesday.
Guardiola is unlikely to adopt a defensive “park the bus” strategy. There is enough attacking power in this team to bring something back from Anfield and finish the job at home, just like they did with PSG. Then, with the league likely wrapped up, all thoughts can then turn to the semi-final, knowing a treble is firmly within their sights.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 City.