- Liverpool has won just 2 of its last 6 league games
- Manchester City has lost two in a row in the league
- The Reds are unbeaten in 12 at Anfield
Revenge is the front porch to this game’s narrative, but that just scratches the surface of what this game means for both sides. Liverpool needs to refocus on league play after coming up just short for a trophy. Manchester City needs a win badly to begin scaling the mountain in front of them. Neither side would be happy with a point. Neither side can fall much farther than they already have this season.
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For Jurgen Klopp, he has experience picking his team up from a Cup final defeat, having lost the last four finals he has managed in. With Liverpool sitting just two points above the lower half of the table, he must do so again here against the very team that prevented them from hoisting a trophy. The Reds have not won back-to-back league games since December, holding only Aston Villa to a clean sheet during that span.
It’s unclear if Daniel Sturridge will start this match for Liverpool after suffering cramps late in the Cup final that left him unable to take a penalty in the shootout. Dejan Lovren should return to the back line from illness just in time, as Lucas Levia – who deputized at center-back in the Cup final and performed admirably – suffered a muscular injury. The other central defenders in Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho are both doubts as well
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Manchester City picked up a big trophy for Manuel Pellegrini in his final season with the club, but the league is still of greater concern. City cannot afford to let cross-town rivals Manchester United back into the thick of the top four, but with the Red Devils just three points back in fifth, that is now a serious concern. City also sits four adrift of Arsenal in third, and a failure midweek would let the Gunners off the hook for their dropped points to the Red Devils over the weekend.
Yaya Toure is the most notable injury concern for City, with the midfielder questionable nursing a foot injury, Pellegrini confirmed. Otherwise, they have nothing new aside from the long-term problems to Samir Nasri, Fabian Delph, and Kevin De Bruyne, the latter of whom could come back at the end of March.
What they’re saying
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on injuries: “I know it’s a very important game for them and it’s a very important game for us. It is all about who is fit enough in this really intensive game for both sides. We will bring the best line-up we can.”
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: “One player I am sure that he will start is Raheem Sterling. For him to play under pressure, I think big players will always be under pressure for their performance. It doesn’t matter where they play or against whom they play. I have 100% trust in Raheem and I am sure that he will play tomorrow and be an important player.”
“We tried everything” Jurgen Klopp said after their Cup final loss. Expect that again. Both teams need this game badly, which ensures a wild finish.
Manchester City starts matches much better than they finish them, while Liverpool is often the opposite. City will gain an early lead inside 20 minutes, and Liverpool will be forced to fight back the whole way, and Daniel Sturridge will come on as a substitute and score for the Reds in a 2-2 draw that leaves both teams wishing for more.