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Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Manchester City (Lineups & Live Stream)

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On the surface, this game is about revenge. But looking at the table, both teams desperately need three points as Manchester City travels to Anfield to take on Liverpool at 3:00 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

The Reds are without Daniel Sturridge, who suffered severe cramps at the end of the Cup final loss to City over the weekend. Liverpool also lost Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Levia in that game due to injury. Thankfully, Dejan Lovren returns to start alongside Kolo Toure, and Martin Skrtel is in the squad for the first time since going down December 20, named to the bench. Jon Flanagan also returns to the starting lineup, just his second appearance this season and first in the Premier League.

[ WATCH LIVE: Liverpool vs. Manchester City live online at NBC Sports Live Extra ]

For City, Joe Hart returns in goal despite the penalty heroics from Willy Caballero. Yaya Toure misses out thanks to a foot injury, with Fernando in his place. Raheem Sterling also starts against his former club despite a number of bad misses just a few days ago.

Liverpool is unbeaten in their last 12 meetings against Manchester City at Anfield, with City’s last win there coming in 2003. In contrast, Liverpool has not won at home in the 2016 calendar year, while Manchester City has seven clean sheets away from home this season, the best mark in the Premier League.

LINEUPS:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Flanagan, Henderson, Can, Milner, Lallana, Firmino, Origi.
Subs: 
Ward, Skrtel, Moreno, Allen, Ibe, Coutinho, Benteke.

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Clichy, Kompany, Otamendi, Fernando, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Sterling, Aguero
Subs: 
Caballero, Sagna, Demichelis, Kolarov, Bony, Iheanacho, Mangala

Mario Balotelli thanks fan who held him back at Anfield

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It was a moment that only the sharp eye caught, but it could have saved Liverpool’s skin.

With the Reds down 2-1 to Manchester United at Anfield and pressing hard for an equalizer down a man, Mario Balotelli – already on a yellow card – was pummeled into the advertising boards by United defender Chris Smalling.

He had every right to be angry, but it wasn’t the time or the place to react. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Smalling knew exactly who he was dealing with and egged him on, pointing and yelling. When Balotelli picked himself up, he had that gleam in his eye – the one you see before he does something only Balotelli would do. Something bad. Something that would get him sent off.

Fortunately, Liverpool fans came to the rescue. In particular, Reds fan Shaun Leatherbarrow. You already can tell Leatherbarrow is a cut above the rest, because he is seen actually wearing sunglasses when it’s sunny out, something many Premier League fans can’t seem to figure out. The quick-thinking Liverpool season ticket holder held Balotelli by the shoulder for a split second, just long enough to calm the striker down and give him time to rethink his actions. Balotelli was eternally grateful, and posted the following on his Facebook page:

“I could tell from Mario’s body language that he was ready to react, and I knew he’d already had a yellow card,” Leatherbarrow told media after the game. “I was saying ‘leave it, leave it” and he was saying ‘ok, ok.'”

Liverpool wasn’t able to snag an equalizer, but it was a pivotal moment in the match. Had Balotelli been sent off for a rash reaction, who knows how bad things could have gotten with Liverpool down to nine men, and we could have been talking about a completely different scoreline. Good to see Mario appreciates the moment.

Liverpool may sell naming rights to new stand at Anfield

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With the redevelopment of Liverpool’s historic Anfield home pushing ahead, their American owners may look to offset some of the cash spent on the renovations by selling naming rights.

After a lengthy process, Liverpool were finally granted permission to expand Anfield to just under 60,000 with more seats added to the Main Stand and Anfield Road stand, plus the entire 130-year-old stadium getting a major facelift. Their is still a small matter of a six-week consultation period with local residents but Liverpool City Council has fully backed the project which is due to begin in 2015 and be finished by the start of the 2016-17 season.

Liverpool are now mulling over the idea of selling the naming rights to the Main Stand, which will be the centerpiece of the new development.

Here’s what Billy Hogan of Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s owners, told the Liverpool Echo.

“The new main stand is going to be a big focus for all of us. The process is still ongoing. We’re getting closer to certainty but we’re not there yet,” Hogan said. “When that certainty arrives, from a commercial standpoint we’ll be ready to get to work on that. We wouldn’t consider selling naming rights for the stadium as a whole but in terms of the name of the main stand that’s something we will look at. We’ll be looking to bring in a number of new partners. A naming partnership for the stand would make sense.”

This statement from the clubs new chief commercial officer make a whole bunch of sense for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it will help finance the $120 million expansion of the stadium. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it could help Liverpool’s plight as they are currently under investigation from UEFA under the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. With as much revenue needed from sponsorship deals and outside sources as possible to balance the books, selling the naming rights for the Main Stand seems like the way to go.

Liverpool’s owners are extremely conscious about the history of the club and will not want to sell the naming rights to the entire stadium. This is a smart move by the Reds.

MUST SEE: Full highlights of Liverpool’s epic penalty shootout

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15 rounds. 30 shots. 20 minutes.

That’s how the penalty shootout went down between Liverpool and Middlesbrough in their third round League Cup match at Anfield.

Tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, Liverpool seemed to have found the winner when the young Spaniard Suso put the Reds ahead in the 109th minute, but Middlesbrough didn’t lay down. Pushing through the final seconds of stoppage time, Middlesbrough drew a penalty in the 123rd minute, which was subsequently converted by Patrick Bramford, sending the match into a penalty shootout.

What ensued was the joint highest-scoring penalty shootout in League Football history. At one point, 20 straight shots were converted. Both goalkeepers were forced to shoot (both scored) before the teams came full circle to the top of the order. Finally in the 15th round, Albert Adomah missed wide to the goalkeeper’s left, ending the epic shootout with Liverpool surviving another day.

Anfield $164m expansion approved; Liverpool’s home to near 59,000 cap

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Three tiers, 59,000 seats and $164 million in expansion will bring Liverpool’s hallowed Anfield ground into the next level of European venues.

As it currently stands, Anfield is below regulations in a number of areas for UEFA play (which mandates 50,000 minimum capacity). This renovation will fix that, as well as update a load of other problems with the venue.

[ MORE: FIFA’s new head injury protocol to go up for vote ]

Anfield has been Liverpool’s home since 1892, and the new construction is slated to finish in time for the start of the 2016/17 season.

From the BBC:

The planning application states the redevelopment would allow the club to host major international and European games.

It said there are parts of the stadium which “fall below current Uefa and Premier League standards which restrict the club[‘s] ability” to host major games.

Uefa standards include a minimum 50,000 capacity stadium, corporate accommodation and a minimum standard for the changing rooms for players and match officials, which Anfield does not meet.

The stadium’s food and toilet facilities, disability facilities, pitch side accommodation and doctor, physiotherapy and drug testing rooms are also below standard.

Not the drug-testing room. Anything but that!