English giants go toe to toe

Man City celebrate their win over Copenhagen in midweek. They’ll be seeking similar joy when they visit Anfield tomorrow. — Reuters

THE past two weeks have been truly superb and memorable for Liverpool.

Despite their long list of injuries, the Reds still managed to beat Chelsea to lift the Carabao League Cup, win 3-0 against Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round and then beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the league last week.

And in midweek during the Europa League round of 16 match against Sparta Prague, Jurgen Klopp’s team won 5-1 against the Czech First League leaders.

Questions will now be asked whether Klopp’s team can sustain this good run of results, more so when the current Premier League leaders host defending champions Manchester City, who are also on a good run of form, at Anfield tomorrow.

The Merseysiders are on a four-league match unbeaten run since the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal early last month.

It should also be noted that the Reds have not lost a league match at home since Oct 30, 2022, where the defeat came at the hands of Leeds United. That includes 20 wins and five draws.

As to who can Klopp put out in the starting XI against Pep Guardiola’s team, it will depend on who is fit and available.

Facing City, the German will no doubt want to field his strongest possible line-up.

With Alisson Becker sidelined with a hamstring injury, Caoimhin Kelleher will surely be playing in goal.

Jarell Quansah could now start in the heart of defence with Virgil van Dijk, after Ibrahima Konate was injured in the Sparta Prague game. Kostas Tsimikas and Joe Gomez should be deployed at left and right-back respectively.

Wataru Endo, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai should make up the midfield.

All three, signed earlier this season, have been playing well when called upon, and could be crucial in the final run-in with 11 more league games to play.

They have all scored some fantastic goals between them while making incisive moves and passes that led to goals. Mac Allister in particular is in good form – three assists and a goal in his last three league games.

Mohamed Salah, who trained before the trip to Prague, should start alongside Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz as the triumvirate up front.

The reigning champions do not have any major injury concerns, with only Jack Grealish and Matheus Nunes unavailable for the trip to Liverpool.

Ederson should be in goal, with Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji and Kyle Walker expected to be lined up in front of him.

Rodri and John Stones should sit in front of the defence while Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne back up Erling Haaland in attack.

Man City’s last league defeat away from home was to Aston Villa in early December, when they lost to a Leon Bailey goal.

Since then, they are on a 12-game unbeaten run, which includes two draws.

Man City will be favourites for this match, just as they are the favourites to win and retain the league title.

After demolishing Manchester United 3-1 last week and Copenhagen by the same score in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 match in midweek, they certainly have momentum.

The last time these sides met at Etihad Stadium, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

A win for Liverpool this time round would see them retain top spot on the table with 66 points and four clear of Man City.

A City victory would have them move to the top of the table with 65 points.

A draw would not benefit either side, as third-placed Arsenal, with 61 points, are lurking and ready to climb to the top if they beat Brentford, and these two giants slip up.

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