Liverpool were so poor against Napoli on Wednesday night in the Champions League, leaving the Stadio San Paolo with a 1-0 defeat.
Despite the fact Liverpool have now lost two games in a week, one being Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and the other being Napoli in the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp will be grateful neither were in the Premier League.
Points are an absolute luxury in the league with how good Manchester City are. One loss and all of a sudden you feel as if you have a mountain to climb due to the ruthless nature of the Citizens.
The Reds currently sit second in the league, only behind Pep Guardiola’s City on goal difference, which makes this weekend’s game against the reigning champions at Anfield an important clash.
City have not beaten Liverpool at Anfield since 2003, but that statistic could be in danger of becoming irrelevant after this weekend if the Reds do not improve on the midweek European clash against Napoli.
This is the XI I believe Liverpool should begin the game with.
Goalkeeper – Alisson
With the exception of the one mistake the Brazilian made against Leicester City many weeks ago, he has been brilliant in goal. He constantly has shown what we have lacked for a number of years. His ability to keep his team in the game when they are not playing well makes him worth every cent. If Liverpool are to get a result this weekend, one does get the feeling he may be big in doing so.
Right-back – Trent Alexander-Arnold
The Scouser had a lot to do against Napoli, and I think he would be the first to admit he was not at his best. When the Reds went into the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Manchester City at Anfield last season, the right-back was coming off a pretty average display against Crystal Palace from the weekend, but he put that aside and put in one of the performances of the season a few days later. Hopefully he does the same here.
Centre-back – Joe Gomez
He has had a solid start to the season and Liverpool will need his agility when they come up against an attack as good as Manchester City’s.
Centre-back – Virgil van Dijk
He has been the rock for the Reds since coming to the club in the previous January transfer window, and has had a good season thus far. His leadership qualities, alongside the fact he is just a good footballer in general, make him an important asset going into the weekend. He needs to be at his best against City, and also making sure everyone else is at their best.
Left-back – Andrew Robertson
He was really not himself midweek against Napoli. It was strange watching him have a bad game, as he has rarely played one for the Reds. He has always performed well against the blue half of Manchester, I expect him to bounce back.
Holding midfield – Jordan Henderson
Liverpool’s midfield last season was massive in the Reds progressing 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-final against the Citizens, and with Naby Keita injuring his back midweek, I would expect to see a similar midfield to what Klopp fielded last season, which included the industrious Henderson.
Central midfield – James Milner
You could make an argument the Englishman needs a rest, but in a game like this and considering his form this season, the Reds need his energy and legs to unsettle the Citizens.
Central midfield – Georginio Wijnaldum
Another player that has been critical to the way Liverpool have started the season. With midfield competition being brought in before the beginning of the campaign, he has definitely gone to another level. The Reds need the Dutchman at his absolute best this weekend, because at his best he makes the game look very easy.
Right wing – Xherdan Shaqiri
This may be a little bit controversial considering how good Mohamed Salah has been for us since joining at the beginning of last season, but I would be tempted to start the Swiss international against City. Salah looks very tired at the minute and just out-of-form. Giving the Egyptian a rest may be the best thing for him.
Left wing – Sadio Mane
Started the season with a bang, scoring four goals from the first four games, but has not scored since. Despite that being the case, he has still looked somewhat threatening.
Striker – Roberto Firmino
The pressing of the Brazilian will be crucial in a clash like this. We saw last season that City did not cope well at all with the pressing, which is initially led by Firmino. He needs to be playing with that energy he so often does.