Charging Liverpool challenge Man City to prove their greatness

Sherman Parsons
January 3, 2019

There was nothing between them in the standings - they were tied on points after seven games - and plenty of respect was shown on both sides.

"The reality is clear so we have seven points down so it will be the second game of the second leg [of the season], so there a lot of points to play for". A year ago we beat them 5-0 here - but it doesn't count now.

Guardiola believes the game at the Etihad is a "big opportunity" to close the gap on an unbeaten Liverpool side, with Tottenham now one point ahead of City in second.

The former England man told Sky Sports: "If Liverpool don't lose at Man City, then that rules City out of the title race".

Liverpool dominate the defence having conceded only eight goals all season, with that form largely down to the influence of Virgil van Dijk.

Klopp employs a number of the same principles, and through the "Gegenpress" has been one of the few managers who has been able to consistently trouble Guardiola's teams.

But despite Liverpool's unbeaten start to the league campaign and their seven-point advantage at the summit, Klopp is adamant City remain the best.

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Guardiola, not Klopp, has been the one tinkering with tactics heading into their matchups.

"Of course, we knew repeating last year's success wouldn't be a simple task but we always aim for excellence". In October, he reined in his fullbacks and kept the central midfield compact and close to his wingers.

In the last decade, only two sides who were leading at Christmas failed to win the league-both were Liverpool.

With the game nearly a must-win for City in some quarters, the Reds hold all the advantage going in to the tie.

The vice-captain has been absent from the Reds' last two Premier League outings with Newcastle United and Arsenal due to a hamstring issue, but resumed full training at Melwood on Tuesday and could come into contention for the showdown with Pep Guardiola's side. Mahrez's penalty miss in their first encounter in the league helped Liverpool get back from the tie on a positive note.

Manchester City will look to move within 4 points of league leaders Liverpool when they host the Reds at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow, in what is surely going to be one of the biggest games of the season.

Kevin De Bruyne, who has featured little this season due to injury, is again a doubt after missing Sunday's victory at Southampton. Crucially, midfield anchorman Fernandinho is fit and available.

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