League Cup final: will Liverpool desire overcome Man City?
It's do or die for Liverpool and Klopp, while Manchester City face a host of distractions
The first silverware of the season is up for grabs at Wembley on Sunday, as Liverpool face Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final.
For Liverpool, the game represents their best chance of a trophy in Jurgen Klopp's first season in charge and would be their first success since they won the same competition in 2012.
City have different motivations, as they fight for three trophies in Manuel Pellegrini's final season at the Etihad. They are outsiders in the title race but remain in touch with the leaders. They also have one foot in the quarter finals of the Champions League after victory over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.
How Pellegrini (pictured above, right, with Klopp left) prioritises the Capital One Cup could determine the outcome of Sunday's final. It is clear the League Cup is to him the least important of the three trophies City are chasing, says Chris Sutton of the BBC.
But it is also the one his side are closest to winning, so he must balance that with the need to keep his players fresh. If he loses at Wembley, there is a real chance he will end the season without silverware.
"Pellegrini has not helped himself much there," says Sutton. "His obsession with the Champions League has already ended City's FA Cup hopes - and it could finish off their Premier League title bid too," he warns, noting that City fielded an inexperienced side against Chelsea in the cup last weekend and were beaten 5-1.
However, he is sure to play his big guns at Wembley, four days after the Champions League win in Ukraine.
City "will head to London as favourites", says Mail Online. Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure all scored in midweek and Vincent Kompany is back in the side.
All are coming into form, which is ominous for Liverpool. However, the Reds can take heart from the fact that Daniel Sturridge is finally getting a run of games under his belt after 18 months of injury frustrations and the result earlier in the season, when they trounced City 4-1 in one of Jurgen Klopp's first matches in charge.
"All this, blended with the sub-plot of Raheem Sterling finally moving within touching distance of silverware with City since his acrimonious £49m exit from Liverpool in the summer, means Sunday's occasion promises to be a gripping affair," says the Mail.
It's do or die for Liverpool, says Steven Gerrard in the Daily Telegraph. "The consequences of losing can affect your mood for weeks after," he adds. "No-one cares about being runners-up, especially at Liverpool and Manchester City."
Liverpool's former captain believes it is "a good time to play City", although with Pep Guardiola arriving to take charge in the summer, "it might be the best chance for Liverpool to beat them in a final for a while".
He adds: "Players like Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Yaya Toure are matchwinners. The game will be won and lost depending on how successfully Liverpool can keep them quiet and implement Klopp's plan.
"Given what Liverpool did to City in the Premier League earlier this season, we know how they will try to go about it. It will be Klopp's full on 'heavy metal' approach, demanding the players press harder and work harder than ever."