Another test of fate dawns on two teams who are set to clash in a battle for supremacy and pride, as Manchester City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad.
It would be crunch time at lunch time when the Cityzens of Manchester take to the field against the Merseyside Reds.
Pep Guardiola’s men haven’t had a comfortable season thus far as they have been having hiccups in games where many expected them to roll over their oppositions.
For Liverpool tutored by Jurgen Klopp, it’s been an abysmal season by their standards and wishy-washy to say the least.
Manchester City are 2nd on the Premier League table, 8 points behind Arsenal who seem to be on full throttle as the season continues. Pep Guardiola’s side have one game outstanding as the end of the campaign draws near.
Liverpool are 6th of the English Premier League log, 7 points behind Tottenham Hotspur who sit 4th on the table, although with two games in hand.
The first leg of this battle ended with Liverpool edging it at their home turf due to complacency and defensive error from the Cityzens.
That defensive error allowed Mohammed Salah to run into the box before placing an irresistible shot beyond the reach of Ederson Moraes.
Manchester City have picked up just two wins in the last meetings across all competitions against Liverpool and it would be difficult to tell where the pendulum would swing for the encounter.
Teams News for Manchester City
Erling Haaland is expected to be back in action for the side after he pulled out of the Norway squad during the International break due to a groin injury concern.
England International, Phil Foden is unavailable for this clash after going through appendix surgery last weekend and Foden is expected to be out of action for at least four weeks.
Captain of the Cityzens, Ilkay Gundogan could be part of Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri for the game, while Julian Alvarez might start in attack if Haaland is not fit enough for battle.
Team News for Liverpool
Brazilian attacker, Luis Diaz, got back to training with the first team earlier this week after five months injury lay off with a knee issue and the winger could be part of the team to face City.
Uruguayan International, Darwin Nunez, should also be available to play at the Etihad after getting treatments for a cut to his ankle while on International break.
Left sided defender, Kostas Tsimikas picked up a rib injury in his nation’s goalless draw against Lithuania, Tsimikas plays for Greece and uncertainty hovers around his availability for the game against Manchester City.
Absentees Thiago Alcantara, Stefan Bajcetic and Calvin Ramsey are all still out injured. Mohammed Salah has netted in all three of his side’s matches against City this season as he scored in the Premier League, EFL Cup and Community Shield earlier this term.
Salah is expected to be in attack in addition to Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez depending on a late fitness test to be conducted for the Uruguayan.
Jordan Henderson is anticipated to form a three-man midfield for Liverpool with Fabinho and Harvey Elliott or James Milner to play alongside him.
Manchester City probable starting X1 against Liverpool:
Ederson, Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake, De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo, Haaland and Grealish.
Liverpool probable starting XI against Manchester City:
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott; Salah, Gakpo and Nunez
Bearing in mind Manchester City’s poor record against the Reds, I would expect a keenly contested game despite Liverpool’s poor season so far.
But Manchester City should come out of this game with the three points just like they did at their home turf in the Carabao Cup last December.
Remembering as well, what the huge significance a loss or a share of the spoils could mean in their push for the English Premier League title.
So I say, Manchester City will win by a slim margin!
Manchester City 3-2 Liverpool.