Liverpool vs Manchester City – Anfield – January 14, 2018 – 16:00 hrs – Premier League preview
The last time Liverpool faced Manchester City, they were quickly reduced to 10 men. It occured in the 38th minute of the game thanks to a Sadio Mane red-card send off. The Reds succumbed 0-5 to a marauding City attack after that.
A shaken Liverpool without the expelled playmaker Mane stumbled post their crushing at the Etihad. Barely winning one of their following five games. This included a 1-4 mauling at the hands of Tottenham at the Wembley in October-mid.
But that was the last time that Liverpool lost a Premier League game this season. The Reds have registered nine wins and four draws since then.
Liverpool who were tottering at the edge of the Top half of the table in October have rallied and consistently managed to stay in the 4th spot since December beginning.
The Rise of Mohamed Salah
Liverpool's remarkable recovery in the recent months can be attributed solely to the phenomenal rise of Mohamed Salah as one of Premier League's foremost strikers.
The 25-year old Egyptian has virtually scored or had a hand in each of his side's games in the 2017-18 season. His 23 goals in all forms of competition and 17 in the Premier League alone in the current season so far, is a testimony to his incredible abilities.
Along with the likes of Firminio, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the back-to-form Sadio Mane, Saleh is a part of an attacking quartet than can rival Manchester City's.
No wonder they have taken the exit of the brilliant Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona in a stride. Not only have they found an ideal replacement to the mercurial Brazilian in Mohamed Saleh, but have pocketed a staggering £142 million of Barca money in the process.
Coach Jurgen Klopp has further found a perfect man for his somewhat vulnerable mid-field and defense in the form of Virgil van Dijk. The £75 million import from Southampton has already made his mark at Anfield, netting a goal in his debut appearance for the Reds in a FA Cup win over Everton on Friday.
Reds coach Klopp adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation in the FA Cup game in which he had Saleh rested. For the City game this weekend, with his talismanic scorer back, he will no doubt resort to an attacking formation of 4-3-3.
Citizens March on
Pep Guardiola's City have recovered from the 0-0 Crystal Palace shock and come back with a strong 4-1 FA Cup win over Burnley last Saturday.
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Lead striker Sergio Aguero, back to full fitness, sounded a dire warning to the Liverpool defence getting a brace in the Burnley game. The injured Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne were among the key absentees in recent matches and look a bit doubtful for the Anfield clash.
But with Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Leroy Sane performing brilliantly upfront, City won't mind the injured two being on the benches. Moreover with the Premier League title almost in the bag, Pep Guardiola could care less.
City have held the top spot of the EPL table since September and are currently an awning 15 points ahead of next best Manchester United.
Liverpool vs Manchester City Verdict
While the Liverpool side that City will face at Anfield on Sunday will surely not be the same one they rode roughshod in September, bookmakers have chosen to give the League leaders a slight edge at Anfield.
But seriously speaking, Liverpool look the side that can come closest to handing Manchester City their first Premier league defeat of the ongoing 2017-18 season. What gives the Reds further strength is the fact that they are yet to lose a home game.
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