Liverpool and Manchester City lock horns for the first time in Europe’s most prestigious club competition at Anfield on Wednesday night, having been drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Thanks to Sam May for this guest post!
If both clubs and sets of supporters are honest, it’s a draw neither of them wanted, however both sets of fans are gearing up for what is expected to be a scintillating clash between the two Premier League giants.
The Reds are the only team to have beaten Pep Guardiola’s side in the league this season, and City thrashed 10-man Liverpool 5-0 at the Etihad earlier in the campaign.
But what should we look out for? Here are five things…
Both teams will attack… there will be no parking the bus!
Liverpool and City will no doubt go into the game looking to win.
Both Loris Karius and Ederson are not expected to keep a clean sheet on the night and both sets of fans are expected to watch an attacking foray.
Kevin De Bruyne has produced a staggering 19 assists in all competitions, whereas his Premier League Player of the Year rival Mo Salah has 37 goals in all competitions so far.
Roberto Firmino, will play as the front man for Liverpool and is in the highest goal-scoring form of his career on 23. Both teams are bristling with goals.
The Battle of the managers – Klopp v Guardiola
Both already have one over each other in this season’s Premier League, with Klopp beating his rival in January and Guardiola in September last year.
The Spaniard will return to Anfield looking for his first win there, hoping to silence the Kop and secure an away goal or two, but can they overcome the roar from the Anfield faithful?
In 2013, the German Super Cup saw the first meeting between the two managers and Guardiola suffered a heavy 4-2 defeat by Klopp’s Dortmund.
The Kop boss knows how to play the former Bayern Munich manager, but must get everything spot on to stop his counterpart once more.
Anfield atmosphere – Prepare for a headache or to lose your voice…
Anfield will be no place for the fainthearted, and there will be no hiding for any player that crosses the white line.
Reds fans are expected to gather along the famous Anfield Road, to host a hostile but fair reception for both teams. Liverpool supporters at the game will have a never say die attitude, too.
The Sky Blues haven’t won at Anfield for 15 years and even if they go ahead, you will never hear the Red half of Merseyside criticising, they will simply turn up the volume until they get the win they need. Just ask Borussia Dortmund in the Europe League two-years ago.
Manager’s tactics… do they stick or twist?
Does Pep double up on Salah, to try and stop his prolific scoring? If he does this leaves space for Firmino and Mane, who have also proved deadly on more than one occasion through the season.
Could Klopp alter his attacking style to nullify the threat of City away goals? If he does, the Reds will be in danger of upsetting the balance of the team.
Guardiola may decide to adopt a back five to try and stop the free scoring Liverpool attacking trio. This could mean conceding the midfield and Kevin De Bruyne becoming isolated and less influential.
Deep down, who wants it more?
In the last five years at Anfield, City have lost every time.
Pundits have said Liverpool have an important Merseyside Derby at the weekend and City, a date with destiny as they take on bitter-rivals Manchester United at the Etihad, where they could secure the league title.
So, could these fixtures have an effect on Wednesday night’s encounter? Not at all.
In the red-hot atmosphere, under the white hot Anfield lights, once the whistle blows, everything will be focused on what should be a pulsating 90 minutes.