It’s the biggest game of the season this weekend, as Liverpool host Manchester City, with the chance to take a whopping nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
And it won’t be easy for City to prevent them from doing that. For a start, Liverpool haven’t lost at home in the Premier League since April 2017.
“Just to put into context how long Liverpool haven’t lost at home for,” said Duncan Alexander on this week’s Totally Football Show, “the four managers to win at Anfield in the Klopp era are Sam Allardyce, Paul Clement, Louis van Goal and Alan Pardew. Redolent of a different time.”
They may also have to do without goalkeeper Ederson, who departed their Champions League game against Atalanta on Wednesday with an injury, replaced by Claudio Bravo who promptly got himself sent off in entirely unnecessary circumstances.
And obviously, Duncan had some stats: “Bravo in his Premier League career has let in 27 goals and made 37 saves: that’s closer to 50% than you’d hope as a goalkeeper. If he does play, the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold will be keen to target him.”
Still, Pat Nevin wanted to add a note of caution to that stat: “My caveat with stats like that specifically for keepers at City, that they only make a certain amount of saves: because of the way City play, when you do get a chance against them it’s a cracker of a chance. Because they have pushed forwards, you’re probably one-on-one with the keeper. In Guardiola’s time there, a save for them is totally different to a save for everyone else.”
So how will this game pan out? And how will the two managers approach things?
“Does Klopp play ‘Liverpool style’, how they play at Anfield every week, which I think he should and get a nine-point gap, or is he a bit more cagey?” asked Pat.
Duncan was pretty sure how he would set things up, if he was Klopp: “Guardiola has lost seven times against Klopp, more than he has against any other manager, and that is because his teams play full out against them.
“If you think back to this fixture last season, both teams were defending brilliantly, but that’s not the case now. I think this could be like one of the games we saw in the previous season in the Champions League.”
So who’s going to win? “I have a suspicion that City will win this game,” said James Horncastle. “I think they will break that unbeaten record. I still think Raheem Sterling is in such a rich vein of form, he can do pretty much anything.”
At which point Duncan interjected: “Although since leaving Liverpool he hasn’t had a shot on target or created a goal at Anfield.”
“I fear for City in this one,” said Pat. “David Silva’s not available, they’ve got problems in defence, and I don’t think they’re at their best at the moment.
“For the league, I think it would be good if City won – purely for the interests of the league, because if that happens and Leicester win, suddenly you think…this is interesting again.”
You can listen to the latest edition of the Totally Football Show here, and even better, you can subscribe here. If you wish to reproduce any of the material in this article or from the podcast you are very welcome to, but please credit The Totally Football Show and include this link.