Premier League 2018-19, Liverpool v Manchester City: Preview and Predicted Lineups
The standout tie of this week's Premier League matches is undoubtedly taking place at Anfield. Defending champions, Manchester City travel to Merseyside to take on a Liverpool side that has matched the Citizens' results so far this campaign. Both sides are unbeaten and are understandably the favourites for the league title in May.
When these two met at Anfield the previous campaign, it produced a 4-3 thriller and inflicted City with their first defeat of the season. With both managers improving their squads in the summer, expect another thriller.
Napoli 1-0 Liverpool (Champions League)
Liverpool picked up their first defeat in all competitions on Wednesday night away at Napoli. Carlo Ancelotti knows all about the Reds, and the experienced Italian manager will have left the San Paolo a very happy man.
The Azzurri dominated the match, restricting Liverpool's normally deadly attack to no shots on target throughout the entire match. The Merseysiders were deservedly beaten, something Jurgen Klopp himself has admitted, thanks to a 90th minute Lorenzo Insigne goal. The strike was deserved, but Liverpool will be disappointed to leave with nothing having gone so far into the match without conceding.
Hoffenheim 1-2 Manchester City (Champions League)
Manchester City put the disappointment of their loss at home against Lyon behind them to defeat Hoffenheim. The German side took the lead in the first minute through Ishak Belfodil but their lead didn't last long. Man City's all-time top scorer, Sergio Aguero equalised for the Citizens before ten minutes had been played.
It took a long time to see another goal, but not for the lack of chances nor trying, as both sides spurned opportunities to get a winner. It took until the 87th minute for David Silva to pop up with the winner, pouncing on a loose ball to punish the home side.
Divock Origi has recovered from his ankle problem but is unlikely to break into the starting XI, while Virgil van Dijk has recovered from his injury, playing all 90 minutes against Napoli. Adam Lallana will miss out with a groin issue. Naby Keita concerningly went down and was subbed off on Wednesday, so it's doubtful he'll start, with club captain Jordan Henderson likely to feature in his place.
Ilkay Gundogan limped off at Hoffenheim with a leg problem and is unlikely to start, paving the way for Bernardo Silva to come into the starting XI. Kevin de Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo are all still out with injury. Don't rule out more changes, though, with Guardiola's famous squad rotation likely playing a part in the team selection.
Key Player: Joe Gomez
Joe Gomez has made the second Liverpool centre-back position his own this season, something nobody would've seen coming. The former Charlton man has cemented his place in the Reds' side but he'll face his biggest challenge in that position to date.
Even with Virgil van Dijk alongside him, the likes of Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling will provide a real test for the youngster. If the home side's backline can hold out against that onslaught by only conceding one or fewer, they stand a good chance of a win, but if not, this could easily be a first defeat of the season for the Merseysiders.
The End of the Unbeaten Road?
With both sides being unbeaten in the league so far, and the best-attacking players in the Premier League on show, one of the clubs could easily record their first loss of the season. Chelsea are the other side without a loss, but I think they'll only be joined by one of these sides. Liverpool went the entirety of the 2017-18 Premier League season unbeaten at home and if City take this scalp, it'll be a huge feather in their cap.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City
I'm not expecting as many goals as this fixture produced last year, but it should be a magnificent spectacle nevertheless. I think Manchester City probably have the more balanced side, and go into this game in better form, but home advantage will prove to be the tipping point. Liverpool have the crowd behind them, and Klopp won't rest on his laurels after the defeat in midweek.