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PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEW: Liverpool, Manchester set for key showdown

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday, August 21, 2021.

This clash is set to be a key one in the title race, featuring the champions of the past two seasons and two of the outright favourites for glory in 2021-22.

Liverpool will look to claim the scalp of Man City and underline their ambitions to return the Premier League title to Anfield, but they will need the vocal support of their home fans to get the job done.

“Everybody is really looking forward to this football festival, to this game, and I think nobody will leave Anfield with any kind of a disappointment because I think all of our dreams will be fulfilled, atmosphere-wise,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

City, meanwhile, has shrugged off their slow start and look in fine nick heading into this clash on Merseyside, with manager Pep Guardiola calling on his team to continue their momentum.

“The last three weeks were so good. The way we trained was a little bit of a surprise after what we achieved last season,” said the Citizens’ boss. “The other side is that it is our sixth season together. We know each other quite well, except Jack [Grealish]. They know exactly what we want to do, what we want to practice, and I think the mechanism is much better.”

Key players

Mohamed Salah – The Egyptian star recently became the fifth-fastest player to score 100 Premier League goals, and his status as both a Liverpool legend and a great of the English game has been cemented. Yet he could even further enhance his reputation by leading the Reds to victory over Man City.

Jack Grealish – The English midfielder has adapted well to life at City and appears to be adding new elements to his game under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. For this clash, Jack Grealish’s calm in possession and ability to draw fouls will be a key part of City’s attempt to take the sting out of Liverpool’s play.

Head-to-head stats

In head-to-head terms, Liverpool and Man City have met in 217 matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 1893. The Reds have claimed 105 wins compared to 58 for the Citizens, while 54 games have been drawn.

City took four points off Liverpool in the teams’ Premier League meetings last season, drawing 1-1 at the Etihad Stadium in November 2020, before a resounding 4-1 win at Anfield in February 2021, featuring goals from Ilkay Gundogan (two), Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden.

Battles to watch

Jurgen Klopp v Pep Guardiola – Two of football’s greatest current minds and characters, Klopp and Guardiola have immense mutual respect for each other, but all that gets put aside when their charges go to war on the pitch.

Sadio Mane v Kyle Walker – Mane’s ability to find pockets of space between the right-back and central defence makes him an awkward man to tie down, but Walker has the speed and competitiveness to make this a very even battle.

Fabinho v Bernardo Silva – Liverpool defensive midfielder Fabinho faces a tough 90 minutes, as the City playmaker has returned to his peak form this season, providing intelligent ‘pass and move’ football across midfield to link his team’s play.

Match broadcast details

All times CAT

Sunday 3 October

17:30: Liverpool v Manchester City – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League and SuperSport Maximo 1

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