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Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester City – stats, team news, line-ups

One of the most enthralling title races in Premier League history is set for a crunch contest between table-topping Liverpool and perennial champions Manchester City.

Sunday’s mouth-watering encounter at Anfield could define whether the Reds ultimately draw level with record-time Premier League winners Manchester United.

It would be a perfect parting gift for outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp, who led the Merseyside powerhouse to their 19th top-flight title in 2019/20 before Man City established a reign of supremacy.

Pep Guardiola’s side have won three consecutive titles and could become the first team in the competition’s history to do it four years in a row.

City are a point adrift of Liverpool but will make this journey in high spirits after a 3-1 home triumph against FC Copenhagen in midweek Champions League action maintained their superb form.

The Cityzens’ trademark run in mid-season started after a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa in early December and currently stands at 20 unbeaten games across all competitions (W18, D2).

However, Man City’s imperious form will not intimidate Liverpool, who head into proceedings having won their last seven competitive outings, including a 5-1 demolition of Sparta Prague on Thursday.

Darwin Nunez won the LFC’s Goal of the Month award (h/t the club’s official website for a delightful dink against Brentford and led the charge in Prague.

The in-form Uruguayan forward bagged a first-half brace Prague, as the Reds put one foot in the Europa League quarter-finals.

Match Preview

Liverpool’s pursuit of continental glory forms part of Klopp’s ambitious plan to wave goodbye to Anfield in style as he bids to guide his team to a historic quadruple this term.

Even if the German’s effort comes a cropper, his crowning achievement in his swansong season at Anfield would be dethroning Man City and his arch-nemesis Guardiola. 

The second and third current longest-serving managers in England’s top-four divisions, Klopp and Guardiola are gearing up for their 30th managerial showdown.

Liverpool fans can draw confidence from the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss’ slightly better head-to-head record, with Klopp boasting 12 wins against Guardiola’s 11 (D6).

Guardiola’s hopes of settling the score with his famous rival rest on Man City’s ability to breach Anfield, a fortress that has only fallen once in the last 55 Premier League games it hosted (W42, D12).

However, the Spaniard is well aware of the Cityzens’ long-standing struggles in the red part of Merseyside, as evidenced by a single win from their last 20 visits to Anfield (D6, L13).

On the bright side, his charges have recently flourished on the road, winning their last nine competitive fixtures outside the Etihad Stadium while netting 3+ goals on six occasions.

Despite winning their last five away league games, it’s worth noting four of those triumphs came against sides from the bottom half of the table, suggesting pure stats may count for nothing.

Team News

Liverpool can’t call upon numerous first-team stars for this clash, including Alisson, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Diogo Jota, Ryan Gravenberch, Curtis Jones, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara.

But Klopp has welcomed his talismanic forward Mohamed Salah back from injury, while Dominik Szoboszlai marked his return to the fold with a goal against Sparta.

As for Man City, Mathias Nunes faces a race against time to make the matchday squad.

Speaking to the club’s official site in the build-up to this blockbuster trip, Guardiola admitted Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku could miss out on this season-defining match-up.

Liverpool potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Kelleher; Bradley, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz.

Manchester City potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake; Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne; Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez, Phil Foden; Erling Haaland.

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