Jurgen Klopp has said playing at Manchester City is ‘the most difficult game in the world of football’ and is not underestimating the task of heading to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (watch live, 11:30am ET on Peacock Premium).
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The reigning Premier League champions head to Man City knowing the away side has only won once in the last 23 meetings between these teams, and Klopp believes Pep Guardiola’s side remain the toughest challenge around despite their slow start to the season.
“We are early in the season and so many things are different this year so nothing is going to compare to the year before,” Jurgen Klopp said. “We have to just make sure we can get through the tough periods and play the best football we can. It’s against Man City, who are one of the best teams in the world. I enjoy these types of games and it will be a tough task. To play against Manchester City is the most difficult game in world football and we have to prepare for that.”
Man City beat Liverpool 4-0 during ‘Project Restart’ in June and games between the two have been extremely tight, generally, but there have been a couple of blowout wins as the stars on show have risen to the occasion.
With both teams inconsistent early in the season as injuries to key players has hit them hard, it will be intriguing to see how they respond in this heavyweight clash as the two main title contenders collide.
If Liverpool win they will go eight points clear of Man City, who have a game in-hand, but if City win they will close the gap to Liverpool to just two points having played a game less.
Liverpool injury news
We all know that Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk for the rest of this season, but the likes of Joel Matip and Fabinho appear to be battling back towards full fitness.
Matip was on the bench for their 5-0 win at Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, as Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips have been deputizing alongside Joe Gomez at center back.
Klopp confirmed that Thiago Alcantara will not play against Man City as the Spanish midfielder picked up a knee injury in the Merseyside derby in early October.
“Doing well, that’s how it is with the boys. Especially Oxlade, it takes time but looks really good, but takes time – everybody knows that. And with Thiago, that’s how it is. It’s an injury but doesn’t need a surgery, all these kind of things but still takes time. The challenge that day was a harsh one and directly against the leg, so still adapting but improving. It will not be too long anymore but for this game I don’t think he will be in.”
So, it looks like Matip could play on Sunday and his experienced alongside Gomez would be key to try and shut down this Man City attack which has Gabriel Jesus back and Sergio Aguero could play some part too.