This Sunday will see the champions of Europe host the champions of England as Liverpool take on Manchester City in what is surely the biggest game of the season so far.
The match is widely seen as a contest between the best two teams in the country, and as the two sides meet for the 214th time, the eyes of the nation will be on Anfield at the weekend.
Heading into the game, City fans will no doubt be nervous about the prospect of the injury-plagued Blues facing Liverpool away from home as City’s record at the home of the Champions League winners leaves plenty to be desired.
The Blues have managed just one victory over The Reds on Merseyside in 37 years, yet despite Liverpool’s devastating form and City’s ever-growing injury concerns, Pep Guardiola will be desperate to accomplish what predecessors Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini never could – beating Liverpool in their own back yard.
City are going into the game in impressive form with 12 wins from their previous 15 fixtures, with a draw against Atalanta and unexpected losses to Norwich City and Wolves marring City’s season thus far.
While City’s recent form is pretty impressive, Liverpool’s is even better, with the Reds’ sole loss in their previous 15 being a loss away to Napoli in the Champions League, with their only other slip-up being a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last month.
City are heading into the game plagued with injuries, Ederson is a doubt following being substituted as a precautionary measure against Atalanta in mid-week, and important first team players David Silva, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Leroy Sane and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all expected to miss the trip to Anfield.
Liverpool’s seemingly unstoppable form along with City’s horrific record at Anfield is a major cause for concern among City fans, with some lacking faith that the Blues will be able to overcome their strongest rival.
Whilst many City fans are confident going into Sunday, many other’s lack confidence in City’s ability to defeat Liverpool away however, the situation isn’t as hopeless as some City fans may believe; as City’s recent form against Liverpool is very encouraging.
The last time the sides met at Anfield, the Blues earned a draw but were unlucky to leave Merseyside with a sole point, a terrible Riyad Mahrez penalty saved Liverpool from certain defeat and prevented City from picking up a rare three points on their travels to the red side of Merseyside.
In January, City defeated Liverpool in a hard-fought encounter, the result turned out to be The Reds’ only defeat of the season and the result was integral in Liverpool losing their substantial lead atop the table as well as City securing back-to-back Premier League titles for the first time.
The most recent meeting between the teams came at Wembley for the Community Shield back in August when City took an early lead through Raheem Sterling, but a Joel Matip equaliser and a stunning Kyle Walker goal-line clearance sent the game to penalties – with City emerging victorious.
In recent years, the sheer quality of the two sides combined with the passion and intensity of the teams’ clashes has seen the fixture become one of the most hotly anticipated in Europe.
A win for Liverpool would see the reds move nine-points clear atop the table whilst a much-needed win for City would see Liverpool’s lead slashed to just three points and could blow the title race wide open.
In recent years, the importance of the fixture has grown exponentially, and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have emerged as two of the strongest sides in Europe.
The significance of the match between two clubs just 35 miles apart coupled with the historic rivalry between the two cities has seen the fixture take-on the intensity of a local derby with both sets of fans desperate to see their side emerge victorious.
The feeling among City fans ahead of the fixture is mixed, many are simply dreading the match due to Liverpool’s form and the ramifications of a City loss, while others have confidence that despite a long-list of injuries, Guardiola’s star-studded team of serial winners will be able to break City’s fabled Anfield curse.
*Odds Subject to change