The international break is done for another few months and we move back to the sanity of the Premier League, without the transfer window.

So it is that our first game back is Man City – a team who look like they can’t defend, or at least can’t defend better than us.

However, it is far to say that they can attack just as well as us, on any given day. Yet, in recent meetings, apart from the one-all draw that we shared back in January at Anfield, we have had the hoodoo over Man City since Klopp took over. The last time that they beat us was in 2014.

It was the 28th August, Luis Suarez had just been sold to Barca and, in a panic, Liverpool had signed Mario Balotelli. This signing was a shot in the dark, a last ditch attempt at getting another striker alongside Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert.

Steven Gerrard was in his last season at Liverpool and the whole team looked like it was suffering from a hangover from the previous season. The football was turgid and slow. Each team that Liverpool faced placed a man on Gerrard and shut down his passing.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Monday, August 25, 2014: Liverpool’s captain Steven Gerrard prepares to take a free-kick against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Even though there are a number of players left over from the 2014 team, the additions to the side that Jurgen Klopp has made means that this is a complete different looking side. There is now depth and the deadwood has been cut away. No longer do we have Rickie Lambert waiting to come on in the wings – sometimes that was quite literally what Brendan Rodgers did!

When the teams met in the March of 2015, Liverpool ran out unlikely winners, with goals from Jordan Henderson and (cue pantomine booing from some quarters) Philippe Coutinho.

Of the team selected that day, eighteen including substitutes, ten players still remain with the club. This shows how far Klopp has taken his squad of players, and made them better, more drilled in how they approach matches and better prepared for attacking from the outset.

Of those ten players, it is most unlikely that we will see Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Danny Ward. However, Emre Can, Henderson, Coutinho, Moreno, Lovren, Mignolet and Sturridge will all likely to see some action on Saturday afternoon.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Saturday, November 21, 2015: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino celebrates the Manchester City own goal scored by Mangala during the Premier League match against Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When the sides next met, the new era at Liverpool had started. Klopp was newly installed as manager and led his side to The Etihad, where they won 4-1.
That day Liverpool started like fury. They ran, chased and harried a normally composed Man City side, causing an early own goal from Mangala, then Coutinho scored and then he set one up from Firmino to score his first goal from the club.
So after half an hour Liverpool were 3-0 up and coasting. Sergio Aguero scored a wonderful goal for City on the stroke of half time, but the game was sealed with a volley from Skrtel, from a Coutinho corner.

It can sometimes be said that score-lines flatter teams, but this flattered Man City. Liverpool could have scored two or three more in the opening period of the game.

Yet, what Man City could never match, and many teams still can’t, is the intensity that Liverpool played at. Think back to Arsenal and Hoffenheim. It was a template that Klopp wanted for every game. And now, two years later, we can see how much hard work the players have to put in.

So here’s the rub. Three months later, Liverpool met Man City in the League Cup final at Wembley, where we were out played for the first half and were lucky not to concede and for City to come out ands score through Fernandinho three minutes into the second half. Even though he had not been his usual self, Coutinho scored from a mesmerising free kick, where instead of going over the wall, he placed his shot under it.

LONDON, ENGLAND – Sunday, February 28, 2016: Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the first goal against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The rest of the game was played out with nether side wanting to make a mistake, although, to be fair, both sides had chances. And so penalties.

Emre Can scored Liverpool’s only penalty with the sort of arrogance and nonchalance that were have come to expect from him. The other three penalties from Lucas, Henderson and Lallana were all saved by Willy Caballero. Yet, two weeks later, Liverpool ran out easy winners at 3-0, with goals from Lallana, Milner and Firmino.

WATCH: Video: Jürgen Klopp’s pre-Manchester City press conference in full

Liverpool have not lost to Man City at home in 14 games, winning ten of those encounters at Anfield. At The Etihad, the stats don’t look so good, Liverpool have only won once in eight visits, losing four times in that period.

It is fair to say that a win on Saturday is not a given, but any result is a good result come 2.30!

Up the Reds!


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