Top-four hopefuls Liverpool host title-chasing Manchester City this Sunday in what promises to be an intriguing clash between two of the meanest sides in the Premier League.
Despite shipping the joint-least number of goals this season, Liverpool simply cannot match their upcoming opponents when it comes to scoring them. The Reds have found the net on just 16 occasions so far this term, while City have scored a phenomenal 42 times. Roberto Mancini’s sensational strikers are in red-hot form – Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko have scored 26 of those goals between themselves.
In contrast, Liverpool’s attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy have managed just seven goals. Uruguayan forward Suarez has been most wasteful in front of goal – the former Ajax man has scored just four goals from 46 shots. Reds’ fans will be hoping that their star striker hits top form in time for the City clash.
Fortunately for Dalglish, Liverpool’s midfielders have been chipping in with some goals. Summer signing Charlie Adam has found the net twice, while Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez and Jordan Henderson have also registered a goal each. Influential skipper Gerrard is currently injured so he will not feature this weekend, and there are also question marks over whether Henderson and Maxi will make the starting line-up.
Maxi made his first league start of the season at Stamford Bridge, in place of England international Stewart Downing. The Argentine winger made an immediate impact as he scored the opening goal against Chelsea. Meanwhile, Downing has yet to score or indeed set up a goal for the Reds this season. Maxi is expected to retain his place this Sunday.
Another player who will be hoping to make a second consecutive start is forward Bellamy, who joined Liverpool from City in the summer. The fiery Welshman has been impressive for the Merseysiders whenever he has been called upon, but Dalglish could still drop him in favour of £35m man Carroll.
Carroll gave the City defence a torrid time last season, with the former Newcastle hit-man scoring two terrific goals – the first of his Liverpool career – against Mancini’s side back in April. Carroll’s partnership with Suarez has been improving in recent weeks and it would be interesting to see whether the manager opts to re-call his record signing for this crucial clash.
Depending on other results, Liverpool could climb up to third place in the Premier League by the end of the weekend. But in order to achieve that, the Reds will have to do what no other side has managed this season – to beat the free-scoring, table-topping Manchester City. It promises to be an exciting game.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool v Man City