On Sunday, Manchester City come to Anfield with an unbeaten domestic record. But Liverpool is more than capable of ending that streak, and they believe it: “I don’t think there’s anyone here that thinks that we can’t do it”, Joe Gomez told The Daily Mirror.
It’s mid-January. Across all domestic competitions, Manchester City remain unbeaten (W26, D6). But on Sunday, at Anfield, Liverpool has an opportunity to change that, and they are more than capable of doing so. Here’s why:
Liverpool have the necessary firepower
Manchester City leads the league in goals scored (64). In addition, across all competitions, they have scored 4 plus goals in a match 10 times.
What is the the key to beating Manchester City? If the match dictates, you have to be able to go punch-for-punch. You have to be able to go goal-for-goal; Liverpool can.
Liverpool is second in the league in goals scored (50). Without a Philippe Coutinho injury absence, a Mané suspension and Klopp’s propensity to change lineups from match-to-match, the number could potentially be greater.
Across all competitions, 4 plus goals 10 times is an impressive feat on City’s part. But Liverpool has done that eight times, T-2nd most in the PL. And among those on the pitch Sunday, it will be Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah with the most PL goals (17).
Despite an 18-point gap in the table, Manchester City faces a Liverpool team whose attack is – at the very least – nearly as potent as their own.
It will remain 11 v 11, hopefully!
The last time these two teams met, the match was marred by an unfortunate challenge and a controversial sending off.
The rest is history. Against 10 men, City took advantage, cruising to a 5-0 victory.
On Sunday, Liverpool will field 11 players, some of whose faces their opponent may not recognize.
Shaky defence – particularly the play of their centre backs – has been a thorn in Liverpool’s side all season long. But the addition of Virgil Van Dijk is an improvement to a previously glaring Liverpool weakness. Manchester City’s attack will have to penetrate a significantly more formidable Liverpool defense than the one it faced in the first month of the season.
NEW: Klopp on Coutinho sale: "There was no other option."https://t.co/xe8N1XCZPT
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 12, 2018
It’s important to note, Manchester City does come to Anfield at a time some might characterize as “opportune”.
Philippe Coutinho is gone. As Anfield HQ Columnist David Comerford wrote on Wednesday, this is a player who has “the capacity to win games with a single flash of brilliance … no player in the squad is as technically gifted”.
On September 9th, Manchester City did not get Liverpool’s best. Despite Coutinho’s departure, Manchester City will have their hands full with Liverpool’s 11 for 90 minutes.
Manchester City are due a defeat
Manchester City has not beaten Liverpool at Anfield since 2003. Based on two of City’s recent performances, that stat may remain relevant when the final whistle blows.
December 31st. Crystal Palace v Manchester City. 90th Minute. Wilfried Zaha is awarded a penalty kick. City survived.
Fast forward nine days later.
January 9th. A Carabao Cup tie v Bristol City. Manchester City is down 1-0 at halftime. City responded.
On the cusp of two near defeats, City has shown resilience to keep their unbeaten streak alive. But they also are living dangerously close to the edge. A team the caliber of Liverpool, currently on a 17-match unbeaten streak of its own, should be able to close the match out if they find themselves ahead late.