Klopp to leave Pep in a spin again
You sense the whole world will be watching this eagerly anticipated clash come Sunday evening, especially with the classics these two have served up in recent seasons. Despite their form of late, I’m expecting the hosts to continue their hold over the Champions.
It’s predicted Liverpool will be the closest challengers to Manchester City this season and an identical record of 19 points from a possible 21 seven games in certainly suggests the Reds will be there or thereabouts.
A tricky spell across three competitions leaves them without a victory since beating brushing aside Southampton at Anfield three weeks ago, casting some doubt over whether they can sustain a title tilt long-term.
Liverpool clearly have a hold over City
But there’s something about playing Man City that seems to bring out the best in Jurgen Klopp and his players. They got the better of them in three out of their four meetings last season, including two masterful performances en route to the Champions League which City and Guardiola in particular had no answer for.
Whether its psychological, ability or a combination of both, Liverpool clearly have a hold over City who have lost this specific fixture in each of the last five Premier League seasons, while you have to go as far back as 2003 for the last time they travelled back up the M62 with all three points.
Even though the Champions arrive in better form following four straight victories, it’s them with something to prove here having been blown away by Liverpool three times in 2018 already.
For as good as they were in winning the league and setting record after record doing so, the 4-3 defeat in January and the comprehensive 5-1 aggregate scoreline in Europe certainly ruffled the feathers of Pep, the perfectionist, not used to a coach tactically out thinking him.
A huge mental barrier for both City and Guardiola
He’ll be out to avenge those defeats and get one over on his old adversary Klopp, who also seemed to leave a mark on Guardiola going back to the time the two managed against each other in Germany. It’s fair to say that Pep has well and truly met his match at the managerial game and is still working out the best way to stop a Klopp team from playing.
If his team can match Liverpool’s intensity then have a chance of yielding a positive result but there’s a huge mental barrier for both City and Guardiola to pass which looks set to hinder them once more.
The fact City are bang in form and Liverpool are a bit out of sorts and not playing particularly well will see many bets go the way of the visitors.
But as has been alluded to, there is no tougher game for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City right now than Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Anfield.