It wasn’t so long ago that City looked infallible after winning 6-1 and 5-1 in successive weeks. Since then though, the goals have proven much harder to come by, with goalless draws against Manchester United and Villa split either side of a 2-1 victory over Norwich.
The absence of key men Sergio Aguero and David Silva are being keenly felt, especially as Kevin De Bruyne’s early season goal streak seems to have dried up of late. In fact, they’re feeling the pinch all over the park at the moment, with no less than nine of their first team squad currently out or under an injury cloud.
Liverpool will be disappointed after losing to Crystal Palace in their last game as they’d been making steady progress under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage. While Chelsea are not exactly themselves at the moment, Liverpool’s victory over them a few weeks back will certainly give Klopp’s men the belief they need to get something from the City game. To do so they will need to shake a decidedly average recent record at the City of Manchester Stadium — they’ve only taken a single point from their last five visits.
Key to Liverpool’s chances will be ‘the little magician’, Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has scored three in his last two games and has been forced to shoulder much of the workload going forward with injuries depleting Liverpool’s attacking stocks. While he has always been capable of an individual piece of brilliance, Coutinho seems to be growing in consistency and Liverpool fans will be hoping he can take over the attacking mantle after losing Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling in successive years.
It’s always interesting to see how teams perform after an international break and it’ll be no different here. It poses as a real opportunity for Liverpool and there’s no doubt Klopp will have his charges primed to fire out of the blocks. If they can manage to do that then you fancy the Reds may have a chance to pinch one early, but the longer it goes you’d expect City’s experienced midfield to take control of the match. A lot has been made of Liverpool’s high tempo game under Klopp, but City are as good as it gets in the Premier League at applying pressure and playing through it might be a step too far this early into Klopp’s tenure.