If any fixture can refocus Manchester City’s minds after their midweek loss at Paris St Germain in the Champions League it is a visit to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side who look a clear and present danger in the Premier League title race.
City’s statement win at Chelsea last weekend was followed by a decent performance in Paris on Tuesday where they were undone in a 2-0 defeat by a fearsome attack featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
There will be no time for Pep Guardiola’s side to dwell on that reverse, however, when they take on Premier League leaders Liverpool, buoyant after a 5-1 Champions League win at Porto.
Liverpool boast the last remaining unbeaten Premier League record this season and lead the table by one point from City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion. Sunday offers Juergen Klopp’s side the chance to put some daylight between themselves and Guardiola’s side but also to avenge last season’s painful 4-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture in February -- a match played at an empty Anfield.
That was a result, helped by a nightmare display from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, that all but ended Liverpool’s hold on their title and left City in charge at the top.
This season, with Virgil van Dijk back back at the heart of Liverpool’s defence and their intensity restored, the Reds look like the side that went toe-to-toe with City in a mesmerising 2018-19 race and then romped to the title the next season.
“We need a complex and complete performance against them to have a chance only and that’s it,” Klopp said of Sunday’s meeting. “But I’m really looking forward to it.”
Liverpool look set to be without right back Trent Alexander Arnold against City in which case James Milner could slot in.
City boss Guardiola was sanguine after the loss at PSG.
“In the end we were better. It was a good performance and we did everything but could not score,” the Spaniard said.
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