Liverpool vs Man City: Why it's not just another game
Sunday's clash will be a battle between two master tacticians, one of whom will win the league
Liverpool vs Manchester City
- When: Sunday 10 November
- Where: Anfield, Liverpool
- Referee: Michael Oliver
- Kick off: 4.30pm
- TV coverage: live on Sky Sports
Manchester City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne and Liverpool spearhead Mo Salah appear to be at odds with the rest of the football world as they insist that the eagerly anticipated clash between the two sides on Sunday will not determine the outcome of the Premier League title race.
In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, De Bruyne tried to insist it was just a normal Sunday for City.
“I’m not keeping track of what people say, we play so many games,” he said. “We want to be ahead, but we’ve lost points. People will talk about it whether we win, lose or draw, it’s for them to say what they want. It’s for you guys to keep track, I don’t care.
“The big games are the ones you want to play, and if you want to compete for titles you have to be the best.
“The media will make a lot of it, and people have been talking about it for the whole week, even before the Champions League, but we just do our job, keep calm and prepare ourselves.”
'It's not over'
Salah, meanwhile told Sky Sports: “It’s not over, it’s three games. If you have a bad period you can be in trouble again.
“Even if we win it’s still a long way, it’s only November and way too early to talk about the Premier League.”
But there is little doubt that one of these two teams will win the title, and if Liverpool emerge with the points on Sunday they must be the clear favourites.
And there is no reason Klopp’s side should fear City. “The Premier League champions haven’t won in front of the Kop since 2003, with Pep Guardiola losing three out of his four visits to Merseyside since taking over at the Etihad,” says the Evening Standard.
“City know defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten league leaders would leave them nine points adrift of the top, with a monumental task to retain their title.”
Two horse race
So there is plenty at stake in a clash between the two best teams in the country.
“Part of the anticipation about this weekend's fixture is that we are firmly in the midst of a genuine duopoly at the top of the table, something that harks back to some of the greatest periods in the history of the competition,” says the BBC.
It will also be a game for the tactical purist. “This will be a match - probably more than any other possible pairing in the world right now - decided by transitions, and responses,” says The Independent.
This revolves around the moment “that possession is lost and a ball is free, leaving one side out of shape and disorganised, and offering a millisecond of an entirely uncontrolled game for the more forceful side to pounce”.
It is fair to say that both Klopp and Guardiola are obsessed with that aspect of the game and both a masters at exploiting it. It makes them both dangerous with and without the ball.
“They are both so capable of those moments that [are]… the most crushing for any coach, that instance when the ball is lost and an opposition attack is suddenly bearing down on your goal in one of those devastating six-second moves.
“We may see a lot of that on Sunday. We’ll also see the best proponents at actually stopping that. That’s what so marks these teams apart.”