10 November 2019 12:33
That would effectively mean a Liverpool side that has lost only one of their past 50 league games would need to lose at least three of their next 26 to let City back in. It is not inconceivable as Liverpool had a 10-point lead over Pep Guardiola's side last season after they had played 20 games, although City had played a game fewer. Liverpool have had near misses before, notably when Steven Gerrard's fateful slip against Chelsea let City in at the end of the 2013-14 season, but win on Sunday and they will feel an irresistible force is with them, even as early as November. The Brazilian, not only an outstanding keeper but a key figure in City's possession game, will be replaced by 36-year-old Chilean Claudio Bravo, who has not featured in the league for 18 months. If City feel some of their achievements have been undervalued while lavish praise has been showered on Klopp and Liverpool after their Champions League triumph, then they have a valid point.
This is why, despite common sense and current form pointing towards Liverpool at Anfield, Manchester City must not be discounted. Liverpool, though, are a magnificent side driven by a self-belief that not only fuels Klopp's team but has sown the seeds of doubt and fear in opponents, as shown at Villa Park last Saturday when a 1-0 deficit after 86 minutes became a 2-1 win by the final whistle. Liverpool's recent record is beyond formidable, both in the Premier League and also against City at Anfield. Since their last victory at the stadium, a 2-1 win in May 2003, they have played 16 league games, losing 11. Liverpool are unbeaten in 45 league games at home since Crystal Palace won 2-1 in May 2017, winning 35 of those.
And then there were concerns, apparently raised at executive level, from Manchester City about a poster on social media suggesting Liverpool fans "greet" the visitors' team bus when it arrives at Anfield - evoking memories of the shameful attack that took place before their Champions League quarter-final first leg in April 2018. Merseyside Police insists there are no concerns about security for the game but there is no question the incident before Liverpool's 3-0 win, in which City's team bus was so badly damaged it had to be replaced for the journey home, still rankles. Manchester City will beat Liverpool and "blow the title race wide open", predicts Dimitar Berbatov. It will be tight, and the first half could be a tactical chess match, but I'm backing City to nick this one and blow the title race wide open Dimitar Berbatov Berbatov wrote in his column at Metro: "Whoever plays in goal for Manchester City won't be too much of a concern for Pep Guardiola, as he has faith in Ederson's understudy Claudio Bravo. Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claims he has never gone into a football match expecting to lose and will not be changing the habit of a lifetime at Anfield on Sunday.
Of course, they're in a position six points ahead and they are playing fantastic all season and we have many [injury] problems in some departments, but I'm not going to take the bus to Anfield on Sunday thinking I'm going to lose the game. If they are to inflict Liverpool's first defeat in 29 league games, particularly with Claudio Bravo in for Ederson and question marks lingering over David Silva and Rodri, they will need to put their best foot forward. This Sunday, Manchester City face their biggest game of the 2019/20 season so far, as they take on Liverpool at Anfield. Pep Guardiola's side have the chance to half Liverpool's six point lead at the top of the Premier League table with a win over the Reds, but they'll have to do it without a number of key players. City will be without a number of first team players for the game, with Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ederson and David Silva all likely to miss the game on Sunday, with Claudio Bravo set to deputise in goal, despite being sent off in Europe in midweek. For all of City's possession, Liverpool looked more likely to score, with Salah, Firmino and Henderson all having chances to double the Reds' lead on the counter, but Bravo was equal to the efforts. FIFA 20 predicts that City's growing injury list will prove too much for Pep Guardiola's side on Sunday, with Liverpool taking advantage of key players being missing and extending their lead in the title race.