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Manchester City v Liverpool – The Opposition

A Look Ahead at City’s Weekend Opponents

Liverpool v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City face the second of their biggest four tests of the season on Sunday as they entertain title rivals Liverpool at Etihad Stadium.

The blues sit one point ahead of their Mersey rivals, with both having played the same number of games. Sunday’s match has been billed as the ‘title decider,’ but with twenty-one points still to play for, anything can happen as the season begins to wind down.

However, City will be in a great position should they win as they will be four points clear of the Mersey reds, while Liverpool will be just two clear if they emerge victorious on Sunday. Both teams will be eager to claim the three points, but neither will want to make a match-losing mistake, not with so much at stake.

Here, we take a look at Liverpool, their form and top performers as we get ready for the biggest match of the season so far.

Form

Both teams go into the match on the back of a successful Champions League outing in midweek. While City were beating Atletico 1-0, Liverpool were recording a 3-1 win at Benfica, and both teams are on course to reach their respective semi-finals.

Liverpool’s league form has been excellent in the second half of the season and are unbeaten in the league since a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City at the end of December. Since then, the reds have collected thirty-one points from a possible thirty-three, with the only drop being a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the first game of the new year.

They have scored twenty-five goals from eleven matches and conceded just four as they keep the pressure on the blues at the top of the table.

Danger Men

Liverpool’s squad is packed with danger men, which is why they are so close to City this season. Mohamed Salah is once again their stand-out performer, leading the way in the goal-scoring charts.

The Egyptian has scored twenty-eight goals from thirty-eight matches in all competitions. He has attempted 113 shots from those matches, the highest in the Liverpool team, which gives him a goal conversion rate of 25%, and a shot accuracy of 62%.

Diogo Jota has hit twenty goals for the reds this season and is in second place in the Liverpool goal-scoring charts. Jota has made seventy-eight attempts on goal from forty-one matches and has a conversion rate of 26%. Sadio Mane, who was in amazing goal-scoring form two seasons ago, is third on the list with fifteen.

If the blues want to stop Liverpool from scoring, then they will need to stop Trent Alexander-Arnold. The defender has provided sixteen assists so far this season and created eighty-six chances from his thirty-six games played. He has attempted 2,494 passes and completed 1,965, giving him a pass accuracy of 79%.

City will need to be wary of Andrew Robertson, who has provided 14 Liverpool goals this season. Robertson has created fifty-nine chances and attempted 2,309 passes, 1,937 of which have been completed and has a higher accuracy that Alexander-Arnold with 84%.

Virgil van Dijk has attempted the most passes with 3,247, 2,905 of which have been completed, giving him a pass accuracy of an impressive 89%.

Who’s the Boss?

Jurgen Norbert (sorry, childish I know but had to get that in) Klopp is still the man at the Liverpool helm, hoping to bring a second Premier League title to Anfield. Klopp has already won the League Cup this season and face City in the FA Cup semi-final next weekend. And, if all goes to plan for both teams, Klopp could be facing off against Pep Guardiola in the Champions League final in May.

Klopp has an outstanding managerial record at Liverpool. From 367 matches played, Klopp’s side have won 225 and lost just sixty, giving him a win ratio of 61%. Just to put into context against Guardiola, Pep has presided over 340 City matches, winning 249 and losing just forty-nine, giving him a win ratio of 73%.

Last Time Out

These two faced off together at Anfield in October, and City twice came from behind to record a 2-2 draw. Last time they played at Etihad Stadium also ended in a draw. Salah’s 13th minute penalty was cancelled out by Gabriel Jesus in the 31st minute. Kevin de Bruyne missed a 42nd minute penalty as the two played out an entertaining draw.