In Review

Man City vs Liverpool: Sterling and Coutinho take centre stage

Midfielders key in battle towards a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League next season

While the title race may be just about over, there is still everything to play for in the race for the Champions League, with five teams battling it out for the three remaining places.

Liverpool face Manchester City at the Etihad on Sunday knowing victory will go a long way to securing a top-four finish and with City still smarting from their Champions League exit on Wednesday, hopes will be high, although Reds boss Jurgen Klopp says his team are the underdogs against Pep Guardiola's side, who sit one place and one point above them in the table.

Two players will be key to the game, says The Guardian.

The first is Philippe Coutinho, who was the star of the show when Liverpool registered their first big success under Klopp at the Etihad in late 2015.

"Coutinho was one of the driving forces behind that win last season but, since returning in January from the ankle injury that laid him low for six weeks, has been nowhere near his devastating best," writes Nick Ames, who says the midfielder's form has been one of the causes of Liverpool's inconsistency.

"It is hard to see Coutinho dropping out of the starting lineup to face City – this looks a fine opportunity for Klopp's team, who are reliably switched-on against top opposition and can capitalise on any post-Monaco dejection – but if Liverpool are to rediscover the magic of that carefree evening 16 months ago they will need him to find form quickly."

City will be relying on the second key player - former Liverpool starlet Raheem Sterling, says Sachin Nakrani, also in the Guardian. The 22-year-old England winger has been one of the success stories of Guardiola's first season at the Etihad, even if the likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus have attracted more interest.

"He has yet to make a telling impact against his former club, with the player all but marked out of proceedings by James Milner when the sides met at Anfield on New Year’s Eve," says Nakrani.

"But with City and Liverpool separated by one point and one place in the battle for Champions League qualification, Sterling must feel this is the perfect time for him to wound those he knows so well. He has the talent, form and opportunity to make it clear, once and for all, that he was right to go from red to blue."

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