Manchester City will be aiming to maintain top spot in the Premier League when they face Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in an intriguing match-up at the Etihad Stadium.
The home side come into this encounter fortunate not to have knocked off their perch, as a draw last time out at bottom club Aston Villa was not capitalised upon by Arsenal, who were held in the North London derby. They had no shortage of possession and chances in the West Midlands, but City – forced to play much of the game without a recognised striker – could not press home their advantage against a side lifted by the presence of a new manager.
But they are boosted here as Sergio Aguero looks set to make a timely return from a month on the sidelines, and he will be hoping to carry on from where he left off, scoring five in a destructive display against Newcastle United at the beginning of October. Should the Argentine indeed play a part here he will fancy his chances up against Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel, who rarely look like an assured central defensive pairing. That will also apply to Raheem Sterling as he faces his former club for the first time.
After three wins and three draws, it proved to be unlucky number seven for Liverpool under Klopp, who had plenty to say about the mentality of the club’s supporters after Crystal Palace left Anfield with all three points. It was a good performaance from the Reds, but missed chances and a couple of moments of careless defending cost them dear, with Christian Benteke proving unusually wasteful in front of goal. He cannot afford to be again here.
With City experiencing great joy in midfield of late, a lot will depend on the efforts of Emre Can and Lucas Leiva for the away team to come away with a positive result. Lucas is normally dependable, but despite his obvious promise, Can has to prove that his decision making is up to scratch, and that he has learnt from the error which led to them conceding the first goal against Palace. Take a point here, and Klopp will surely come away delighted.
Unlike Aguero, playmaker David Silva is definitely out for Man City, who are also unable to call upon Wilfried Bony, Samir Nasri and captain Vincent Kompany.
Daniel Sturridge may make the Liverpool squad as he races to be fit to face his former club. Mamadou Sakho begins a lengthy spell out after suffering an injury against Palace.
Last Meeting: A meeting of the top two from 2013-14 came very early in the following season and Man City easily came out on top thanks to some generous Liverpool defending. As new signing Mario Balotelli looked on from the stands, Stevan Jovetic took advantage of a defensive error and then finished off a fine team move. Sergio Aguero made it three just seconds after coming on, with Liverpool gaining a consolation late on as Pablo Zabaleta put through his own net.
Played for both – Robbie Fowler: After making his Liverpool debut in 1993, Fowler wasted very little time in scoring buckets of goals, scoring 83 times in the Premier League in his first four seasons. Winning a number of trophies, he stayed until 2001 and moved Man City in 2003, where he averaged a goal in one of every four games before rejoining Liverpool, for a second spell in which he netted eight times in 30 league games.