Manchester City-Liverpool Preview: Title rivals looking to gain the upper-hand on each other

The two sides were the biggest challengers for the Premier League title last season and face each other in the second game of the season

Liverpool and Manchester City are looking to get one over each other on Monday as the title challengers meet in the second week of the campaign.

Both teams won their opening day fixtures, with Liverpool beating Southampton 2-1 at Anfield and City winning 2-0 against Newcastle United.

The Reds were hopeful of signing former Blues striker Mario Balotelli ahead of the clash as they look to replace Luis Suarez at the pinnacle of the attack. However, the Italian’s imminent €20 million transfer has not been completed yet.

Brendan Rodgers will not be too disheartened, though, as he will see Daniel Sturridge lead the attack, being supported by Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho against the Premier League champions.

England duo Sterling and Sturridge were both on target in the win over the Saints and manager Rodgers – who will be without Adam Lallana, Jon Flanagan and Daniel Agger (all knee) – is hopeful of an open contest that will allow such talents to shine.

“If you look at both sets of players, there’s lots of invention and creativity – both teams will be creative and want to score goals,” he told reporters.

“We know we need to be compact and solid when we haven’t got the ball, we need to be aggressive and press well. That’s the nature of our game.

“We know we have the freedom, movement and pace that can hurt teams. We understand it’s early on, but it’ll be a good game for sure. It’s been a great start to the league campaign.”

The last time the teams met competitively, Liverpool secured a gripping 3-2 victory on Merseyside that looked to have tipped the balance of last season’s title battle in their favour. 

But City held their nerve, as Rodgers’ men dropped points against Chelsea and Crystal Palace, to win a second Premier League crown in three seasons by two points.

Both sides flexed their muscles in a pre-season contest in New York, when Liverpool twice came from behind to win on penalties.

By that time, Luis Suarez had completed his €88m move to Barcelona – a loss City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes will be keenly felt by a Liverpool squad he still rates very highly.

“I watched Liverpool’s game [against Southampton] and we played against them in the United States,” he said. “We know what they are doing.

“It’s difficult to say after one game but Liverpool will always miss Suarez, he was a very important player. They have brought a lot of important new players and continue being a very strong squad also.”

City remain without striker Alvaro Negredo due to a broken foot, but Pellegrini has increased options elsewhere as his returning World Cup stars build their fitness.

Pablo Zabaleta or Bacary Sagna are likely to displace Gael Clichy, who featured at right-back in their opening 2-0 win at Newcastle United

Sergio Aguero came off the bench to complete the scoring at St James’ Park and will push Stevan Jovetic for the starting berth alongside Edin Dzeko in attack. New signing Eliaquim Mangala is not yet fit to play.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *