Liverpool has eleven undefeated league games on the spin versus Manchester City at Anfield. Can our selected eleven Redmen, with the help of the twelfth man, make it a dozen today? A win would be a significant statement of solid present status and a huge boost in the quest for a top four finish.
Not since 2003 has Liverpool registred a loss at home to Man City. Since then we have won seven and drawn four. Last season Liverpool came out on top, 3-2, in a great encounter. Philippe Coutinho scored the winner twelve minutes from time.
Twelve is the significant number once again. It´s the number of matches remaining in the Premier League schedule and if the Reds can conquer the visitors then it´s twelve league matches in a row where Man City has returned from L4 without winning. And as always, the twelfth man is a major figure, the fan with 44 000 heads. The Red team need an European atmosphere today.
The game is vital to both teams. Liverpool must win to keep up with the top four pacesetters. Right now we are three points behind Arsenal in fourth place and trailing third placed Manchester United with five, but they have one more game played. Still, a defeat could mean that we are five points off top four with just eleven matches to go. Not a healthy position.
Manchester City also crave a victory. They are in second place five points behind league leaders Chelsea and a defeat could men the end of their title assault.
When a lot is at stake matches tend to be cagey. Not this one, that I´m sure of. Both sides will set out to attack and win by taking the game to the opponent. The last five meetings at Anfield is an indicator of an attack-minded approach, these games have produced 18 goals, an average of 3,6 goals per game.
Both teams are in excellent form, at least in the league. Liverpool has gone ten matches without defeat, winning seven and is undefeated during 2015, the only team in the division with that feat. The last 14 matches contains just one loss and the last defeat at home took place in early November. The Red record is also pretty good goal-wise. We have found the net in nine of the last ten league matches.
Manchester City is also impressing. They have just one defeat in the last 17 league matches and haven´t lost away since October. City has failed to score just twice in 26 matches and found the net in all of their 13 away games.
As you can see a pretty tough proposition awaits the Reds. Liverpool is also hit by injuries and at this time it´s up in the air which players are available. Five or six major players are probably out. The visitors are not stricken to the same extent. In that sense Man City has the edge and even more so regarding rest between matches. Liverpool had an away match as far away as Turkey on Thursday night while Man City played at home on Tuesday. This will in all certainty mean that the light blue team is fresher and I dread the final 20-30 minutes when it really can show. The difference in preparation is in this aspect a bit unfair but I haven´t seen any particular complaints from Liverpool.
What if Chelsea would have had to cope with this situation ahead of a clash with Man City? Their manager José Mourinho would scream about an enormous conspiracy, injustice and demand an hour screen-time on the telly to tell how badly treated his club is an how everybody is trying to destroy them. In other words, another laughable clown showing.
The match at L4 today will produce great entertainment, I would be really surprised if not. The best way to beat Man City is to attack, if you let them be in command then a certain defeat awaits. So I would field an attacking side in this crucial game. Like this (in a 3-4-3 formation):
GK: Simon Mignolet. RB: Kolo Toure. CB: Martin Skrtel. LB: Dejan Lovren. DM: Emre Can. RWB: Jordon Ibe. CM: Jordan Henderson. LWB: Alberto Moreno. RF: Adam Lallana. CF: Daniel Sturridge. LF: Philippe Coutinho.
If Mamadou Sakho is fit I would play him at LB and Lovren at RB and have Toure on the bench. Hopefully both Henderson and Coutinho has recovered from their knocks. If not, then Joe Allen has to come in aswell as Raheem Sterling. The latter has been out of form and looked a bit tired so it would be better if he came in from the bench.
For the umpteenth time this season an extremely important match is on the cards. I am quite optimistic about this one and can say with confidence:
We Go Again.