Anfield agog as Liverpool face tough tie against Man City

Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, in what could be described as the biggest premier league match of the season so far.

The Reds dismantled Porto 5-1 in the Champions League in midweek, acting as a perfect response after the 3-3 draw away to Brentford.

This weekend sees a far bigger test come their way, as they battle reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

Man City have not had that kind of success against the Reds since the thirties when they racked up four successive victories over two seasons – winning 2-0 at Anfield and 6-0 at Maine Road in 1935-36, and then repeating the torture with a 5-0 victory at Anfield and 5-1 home win the following year as they won the Football League title and Liverpool very nearly got relegated alongside Manchester United.

Man City head into Sunday’s game at Anfield to resume modern rivalries with Liverpool as both teams occupy top spots in the Premier League.

City manager, Pep Guardiola, on Friday credited Jurgen Klopp with making him a better manager before this weekend’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield.

The two head coaches have won the last four Premier League trophies, with City claiming three, and a fierce rivalry has developed between the clubs.

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City fended off Liverpool’s 2018/19 title challenge despite the Reds amassing 97 points — a title-winning total in all but one previous Premier League season.

Guardiola and Klopp were also dugout rivals in Germany’s Bundesliga between 2013 and 2015 as the Spaniard’s Bayern Munich dominated at the expense of Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund.

The rivalry is set to continue on Sunday as table-topping Liverpool host second-placed City, who are only one point behind.

“His (Klopp’s) teams helped me to become a better manager. He put me at another level, to think about it and to prove myself to be a better manager, to try to beat them,” Guardiola said.

“That is the reason why I am still in this business. Some managers — and Jurgen is one of them — challenge you to take a step forward.”

Klopp’s Liverpool have been tough to beat at Anfield, with the Reds going 68 league games without defeat at home between April 2017 and January 2021.

City’s 4-1 win at Anfield last season was their first victory on Liverpool turf in 18 years and has been attributed to the game being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Guardiola insisted his team was relishing a vibrant Anfield and that any hostile atmosphere would not prevent his team from playing their game.

“I am very pleased Anfield is full again. We can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere and hopefully, we can handle it,” he added.

“I am sure the players enjoy (more) to play with fans in Anfield than without. Everything is more alive, more difficult.”

Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will be missing from Guardiola’s squad on Sunday and will not be available until after October’s international break.

City remain the benchmark for Liverpool to catch, according to manager Jurgen Klopp as the two dominant forces in English football of recent years prepare to do battle at Anfield on Sunday.

City have won the Premier League title for three of the past four seasons, with Liverpool’s first top-flight title for 30 years in 2019/20 halting a clean sweep.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been talked up as title contenders this season after spending big in the transfer market.

But Klopp believes City remain the team to beat as they showed in a 1-0 win at Chelsea last weekend which was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

“They are still really, for me, probably the best team in Europe at the moment and it’s a tough one,” said Klopp on Friday.

“Last weekend, they played Chelsea and everybody was talking about Chelsea, how good they are –- and they are good, oh my God, they are really good -– but City was clear, clear, better that day.”

In 21 meetings between the pair, both have won nine with three draws.

Liverpool go into the weekend a point clear of City, Chelsea and United at the top of the table.

But Klopp knows his side will have to be at their best to stay there come Sunday night.

“This is a really special game of the season, every year -– always the same. It has to be high intensity because if it’s not, I would say then City is really difficult to play against,” he added.

“You have to be brave, you have to be front-footed, you have to be cheeky in moments, you have to be at your best version and then, but only then, you have a chance.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara will both be missing for the Reds due to injury, but Klopp is hopeful both will be fit to return after the international break.

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