Paul Merson makes ‘huge’ Liverpool claim as Man City outcome hinges on one thing

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Paul Merson believes Saturday’s Premier League fixture between Manchester City and Liverpool is a ‘nightmare’ for both sides.

Pep Guardiola’s men are attempting to reduce the eight-point gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal while the Reds are looking to narrow the seven-point gap to fourth-placed Spurs.

With many of the players that are expected to be in action at the Etihad recently representing their respective nations on international duty, the ex-Arsenal man believes whoever ‘copes with the disruption better’ will come out on top in the ‘huge’ tie while also suggesting that the ‘pressure’ is on the Sky Blues.

“It’s a nightmare game for both Man City and Liverpool to have so soon after the international break,” Merson told Sky Sports (as quoted by Rousing The Kop). “It’s a huge game and it does work the same way for both teams.

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“Both managers don’t have the time they would like to work on things ahead of the game and you also have to wait for the players to get back to see who may or may not be fit. It’s not ideal and it may be that whoever copes with the disruption better may come out on top.

“But the pressure is on Man City. They cannot afford to lose. They cannot even afford to draw.”

It’s a huge game for both sides for very different reasons.

Liverpool are out of all cup competitions and the only thing we can achieve this season is a top four finish while City will fancy their chances of FA Cup success, have a Champions League quarter-final tie with Bayern Munich to look forward to and have an outside chance of another Premier League title.

Klopp’s chances of picking up three points in Manchester on Saturday may be boosted by the fact that Erling Haaland still hasn’t returned to team training as he continues to recover from a groin injury and Phil Foden has been ruled out of the clash after having his appendix removed recently.

The former has been in red-hot form for City this term and although his absence would be a huge help due to the threat he poses, Guardiola still has quality talents such as Riyad Mahrez, Julian Alvarez and Jack Grealish to call upon.

Luis Diaz, meanwhile, is in contention to feature for the Merseysiders for the first time since the league defeat to Arsenal back in October.

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