Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview: Reds look to maintain strong start against Guardiola's title-chasers

Liverpool face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon with a win for either side sending them top of the Premier League at least until Manchester United face Stoke City.

Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview: Reds look to maintain strong start against Guardiola's title-chasers
(Picture - Getty Images - Victoria Haydn)

Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in a mouthwatering Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon, both teams looking to move at least temporarily top of the league.

The Reds travel to Manchester in a strong position, sitting second in the league after two impressive home victories which included a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and a 4-0 thumping of Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal.

However, Liverpool are yet to taste victory on the road after a thrilling 3-3 encounter against Marco Silva’s Watford on the opening day.

The game could see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make his Liverpool debut after a deadline day switch from Arsenal, Philippe Coutinho could make a long-awaited return after continuous links to Spanish giants Barcelona over a lengthy summer saga.

City are looking for their first home win of the season after another away victory with former Red Raheem Sterling securing a 2-1 win with a 97th-minute winner last time out. The game could also see £52 million signing Benjamin Mendy make his home debut.

Liverpool are looking to maintain their impressive start against a side that has only beaten them once in their last eight meetings. Pep Guardiola is yet to get the better of his former Bundesliga rival Jürgen Klopp in the Premier League after the Merseyside outfit recorded a 1-0 home win at Anfield in December before a 1-1 Etihad stalemate in March.

Guardiola is looking for his first three points at the Etihad this season after Ronald Koeman’s Everton denied City victory in their previous home outing, forcing a 1-1 draw.

City are also looking to make a big statement in the title race after finishing a disappointing third place last year. The Citizens will go into the game as favourites after a massive £220 million spending spree in the summer window, one which has ramped up the pressure on Guardiola to engineer a successful campaign.

However, Liverpool haven’t lost to a team in the top six since January 2016 - a 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United - and that still remains Klopp’s only defeat to a top seven rival in his tenure.

The previous meeting between these two teams came at the Etihad in a thrilling 1-1 draw which saw James Milner convert from the spot against his former side before Sergio Agüero rescued his team a point. But the game will be best remembered for all the missed chances and endless drama, including Adam Lallana's agonising open goal miss.

Either City or Liverpool can move top of the league with a win on Saturday - though United, who have a 100 per-cent record so far, could then leapfrog them with a win over Stoke City in the evening game.

 

 

Team news

Klopp may have some tough decisions to make with many players coming in to fold looking for places even after Liverpool’s previous 4-0 demolishing of Arsenal a fortnight ago.

Oxlade-Chamberlain could make his Liverpool debut while Coutinho could return to the squad and make his first appearance of the season after returning to training on Thursday.

Nathanial Clyne was left out of Liverpool's Champions League group stage squad earlier this week and remains out with a long-term back injury while Adam Lallana is still injured with a hamstring problem.

Klopp also rested first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet against Arsenal but is still likely to start the Belgian ahead of Loris Karius in the mid-day fixture.

Daniel Sturridge made his case for a spot in the starting line-up after coming off the bench and scoring in Liverpool's victory over Arsenal, but is unlikely to start against his former club.

İlkay Gündoğan remains the only concern for Guardiola as the German international is still looking for match fitness after returning to training recently following nearly a year on the sideline.

Right-back Kyle Walker could return to the fold after serving his one-match ban last time out, while captain and centre-back Vincent Kompany is a reported doubt with a calf complaint.

 

 

Recent form (Premier League)

Manchester City: WDW

Liverpool: DWW

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