Premier League 2019/20: Liverpool vs Manchester City: Pep Guardiola back in familiar 'haunted' ground
Last season, Liverpool were all set to win their first Premier League title in decades when Pep Guardiola’s men snatched the trophy away from right under their nose. Ever since, the Reds seem to be on a mission. Having missed out on the trophy by just a point, Jurgen Klopp’s men attacked this new season right away with 10 wins out of 11.
The European Champions have lost only two points this season with a six-point lead over their opponents of this Sunday, Manchester City. A win will see the lead extend to nine points while a loss will see the lead decrease to just three points. Below, we take a look at the factors that will influence the Liverpool – Manchester City game.
#1 – Anfield, a terror
A year ago, Pep Guardiola was worried about coming to Anfield for the Champions League 2018 quarterfinals. Ahead of their Goodison Park fixture, Guardiola was preoccupied with the threat of the front three in the terror field named Anfield. He was right to be perturbed as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané were both on the scoresheet alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a 3-0 humiliating defeat inflicted on Manchester City. A 2-1 defeat at Etihad later ensured Liverpool a place in the semis.
A year later, things might not have changed much. Anfield remains a big threat to Guardiola and Co. Alongside the front three, Guardiola had also identified the full-backs as a potential threat. With Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold running riot on the left and right wings and with City missing a big piece in their defense as in Aymeric Laporte, the Premier League Champions need to come up with a formidable plan this Sunday.
Ahead of the game, Klopp has called on the Anfield support and undoubtedly, the Reds’ 12th man will be roaring in support for them.
#2 – Stalemate on the cards
In the past season, Guardiola’s men settled for a scoreless draw at Anfield. Despite Liverpool having a lead over them, Pep Guardiola didn’t mind a draw at Anfield and later, having a go at them in Etihad. This season, the scenario repeats itself. Liverpool is in the lead again but Pep Guardiola isn’t panicking yet.
Having been in this situation before, Pep would probably fancy his chance at the Etihad again, playing for the draw once again. It could play to Jurgen Klopp’s advantage in keeping the lead intact and the Reds might even take their chances this time.
With Ederson supposedly out alongside Rodri and Silva being doubtful, the European Champions could take advantage of the situation to grab a considerable lead to boost their chances of putting their hands on the much-awaited Premier League title.
#3 – Mind games
Ahead of the Liverpool – Manchester City fixture, there’s been a lot of talk coming from both sides. Guardiola had been one who seemed to always have Jurgen and Co, running on his mind even in his sleep and right after their comeback in the Southampton game, Guardiola accused Sadio Mané of diving. It started as a compliment to the Senegalese with the City manager aware of what a good player the number 10 of the Reds was but he still pointed out the man’s tendency to go down easily in the box.
Klopp has since retorted with a subtle dig at City's tactical fouls by saying he isn’t going to speak about it. But Pep Guardiola’s mind games didn’t stop right there, he hasn’t provided much of an injury update about his squad but he did rule out Ederson.
With Guardiola being known for mind-game shenanigans, Klopp should better be prepared for any and everything, this Sunday.