Following starts to the new season which were complete opposites, Liverpool welcome Manchester City to Anfield this Sunday for a huge test for Brendan Rodgers just two games into his new job at the Reds. Rodgers will be hoping his team can put to bed the torturous headlines from last weekend which saw them lose 3-0 away to West Brom and the papers duly noting the demise of the club – a thought which is greatly exaggerated.
Whilst Steve Clarke’s side did take the spoils at the Hawthornes, there was plenty for Brendan Rodgers to take from the game. His side – as was expected – dominated possession with 57% to 43% and managed half of their 14 shots on target. The problems came from penalties and getting the ball past just being on goal, instead getting it past the goalkeeper.
However, this week may not be the time to be demanding a goal as they welcome the Premier League champions to Anfield – a team who has one of the strongest defensive records in the league.
Joe Hart along with his back four and captain Vincent Kompany conceded just 29 goals last season, the least of all twenty clubs. Although in the past two weeks they have conceded two goals in two games – one against Southampton in the league opener and also against Chelsea in the Community Shield – both games, however, they won 3-2.
Liverpool will need to sure things up at the back as well as improving at the front when they play City this weekend. The champions were the top scorers as well last year with 93 goals and have already shown they have the firepower to get the job done scoring 3 against newly promoted Southampton last week.
The home side will have Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnso all available after the quartet were rested in the midweek Europa League game. Daniel Agger is suspended following his red card against West Brom and Joe Cole looks set to miss the game after picking up an injury last week.
Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero after the striker picked up a knee injury against Southampton. Gareth Barry and Micah Richards are still missing with stomach and ankle injuries respectively.
The champions, no doubt, will be favourites going into this match but recent history shows that there isn’t much between the two when they play each other. On their way to winning the league cup last year, Liverpool beat City at the Etihad and drew 2-2 at home. To find the last time the champions won at Anfield you have to go back to 2003 when they won 2-1 in the 02/03 season 10 years ago.
With Chelsea picking up 6 points from their first two games and Manchester United and Arsenal both dropping points in their opener, Roberto Mancini will be looking to continue his teams winning ways to keep their early season challenge on course – but Liverpool who are looking to return to former glories will be sure to keep the current holders at bay as they look to prove they are title contenders this season as well.