Manchester City host Liverpool on Saturday in a mouth-watering lunchtime clash with serious implications at the top of the table.
Pep Guardiola’s side need every point they can get in their bid to overhaul Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League. But with the club in pursuit of three trophies, and a potential question mark over Erling Haaland after he pulled out of Norway’s squad, there’s no guarantees.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have only the league to focus on now, and Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to see his side get three points at the Etihad to boost their hopes of making the top four despite a turbulent campaign to date.
With plenty of top talent on display for both sides, combining the Premier League’s last five title-winning seasons, there’s lots of great players to choose from, and if you threw both north-west sides together, you could make a dream team.
Manchester City is going head to head with Liverpool starting on 1 Apr 2023 at 11:30 UTC at Etihad Stadium stadium, Manchester city, England. The match is a part of the Premier League.
Manchester City played against Liverpool in 1 matches this season. Currently, Manchester City rank 2nd, while Liverpool hold 6th position. Looking to compare the best-rated player on both teams? Sofascore’s rating system assigns each player a specific rating based on numerous data factors.
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NAME: Manchester City – Liverpool
DATE: 1 Apr 2023
TIME: 11:30 UTC
VENUE: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Amidst Liverpool’s rocky season so far, Alisson has proved himself to be one of Klopp’s most capable players. The 30-year-old Brazilian shared the Golden Glove award last season, and has 10 clean sheets to his name this term, most recently in their 7-0 drubbing of Man United.
Alisson is run close to the role of goalkeeper for the combined side though. Fellow countryman Ederson has been great for the hosts, sharing the Golden Glove with Alisson in 2021-22, and also has 10 clean sheets this season. But Alisson gets the nod for the Brazilian national team, and Sportsmail agrees.
Kyle Walker is dependable for club and country. The 32-year-old has been part of a Man City side that has won the Premier League several times, and he has been a key part of keeping out the opposition at crucial times. He’s also held his position in a changing England side under Gareth Southgate.
It’s a tough break for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is just struggling to get the breaks this season. Undoubtedly a top talent, he just doesn’t match Walker’s consistency at the present time, hence why the Man City man is selected.
Alongside Walker in defence, John Stones has been an integral part of Manchester City’s stellar run, and also key to Southgate’s England plans. He’s featured in 15 of their Premier League games so far, and helped them to keep firmly on the heels of Arsenal at the top of the table.At 28, the Barnsley-born central defender is also likely to be at the heart of Man City’s future tilts at trophies as well, including Saturday’s clash at the Etihad, and their Champions League quarter-final legs against Bayern Munich in a couple of weeks.
Haaland, who is the division’s top scorer with 28 goals in 26 games, was ruled out of Norway’s international fixtures over the past two weeks with a groin injury and missed training on Thursday.However, Guardiola is still giving his star forward the chance to feature at the Etihad Stadium, but does not believe his side will struggle to score if Haaland should miss out.
We’ll see today and at the end, the doctors and especially the players will decide how does he feel. I spoke with him and he feels good. We will see what happens.
Life is risky in these stages. You have to take it and we scored a lot of goals this season, he’s scored an incredible amount of goals.
“In the past, we’ve always scored a lot of goals. Since we are here, and I had the feeling with Roberto Mancini and (Manuel) Pellegrini, it was a team that scored a lot of goals in the season with different players, different strikers different styles of play, they score a lot of goals. This is what I try to do before the end of the season.”
The Reds have been the only ones to compete with Pep Guardiola’s winning machine in recent years, but they’ve been left counting the costThe clock may have said 11pm, the end of a long and tiring day of travel, but the mood in the passport queue at Liverpool John Lennon Airport was one of delight, happiness and celebration.
This was May 4, 2022, and a group of Liverpool supporters, returning bleary-eyed to Merseyside having attended their side’s Champions League semi-final win over Villarreal, had landed to the best news imaginable.
Improbably and implausibly, Manchester City had managed to throw away an unassailable lead to lose to Real Madrid in the other semi. They would not be joining the Reds in the final. Pep Guardiola’s side had blown their big chance.
Straight to town, surely?” came the shout as news of City’s collapse in the Bernabeu spread through the queue. Outside, as Ubers and Delta taxis waited to collect, a chant began.
The point of this story is not to remind City fans of their misery, or to poke fun at those Liverpool supporters for their premature celebrations – Real, after all, would go on to beat Jurgen Klopp’s side in the final.
You can’t split up a good partnership, and Sportsmail agrees that Stones needs Ruben Dias next to him. The Portuguese centre-back works effortlessly alongside his teammate, and it has helped to sure up a strong Man City defence, which allows their formidable frontline to flourish.
Dias and Stones also sit a little easier in their roles at centre-back while Liverpool’s backline have had a torrid time. Klopp switches up his side to try and find which combination works, and all the time they’re leaking goals. Only a little while ago, Virgil Van Dijk would have been a shoe-in for one of these places. Not anymore.
One of the few shining lights that Klopp has to his disposal in the Liverpool defence is Andrew Robertson. He’s captain of a Scotland side that shocked the world with a convincing win over Spain in midweek, and he’s essential down the left side for the Reds too.
The 29-year-old is thought of as one of the world’s best full-backs for his physical power and vision, and his performances across 23 Premier League games for Liverpool this season put him ahead of Nathan Ake in that role for the combined 11.Guardiola added that he would not be changing his tactics to accommodate Haaland’s potential absence for a tricky home fixture against Liverpool.When asked if his plan may change, the Man City boss replied: “No, because the football is the quality of the players.
“When you play with the typical players that you need, the tactic is the skills for every player. Haaland has his skills, Julian has his own skills, he gives us one thing, then another one, if you play with a false nine, you have another skill. It depends.
For Liverpool to win, City must lose, and vice versa. That’s the way it has been as, for half a decade, these two sides have been the twin powers at the top of English football, thrilling us with their football, amazing us with their intensity, and setting new benchmarks in terms of consistency and points totals along the way.
What they have achieved is quite remarkable. In the space of five seasons between August 2017 and May 2023, City and Liverpool hoovered up four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups, a Champions League, a UEFA Super Cup and a Club World Cup title.
At least one of them has been present in four of the past five Champions League finals, and the last five winners of both the PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards have come either from the Etihad or from Anfield.
That kind of domination has not been seen in England since Manchester United and Arsenal did battle at the turn of the Millennium, when Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, the latest inductees into the Premier League hall of fame, were at their brilliant and antagonistic best.
If I told you — before the season — that Manchester City were gonna be eight points back of first by the beginning of April, you would’ve been surprised. But not, like, that surprised.
Although City have been the preseason favorites to win the league in each of the past six campaigns, this isn’t a Bundesliga or Ligue 1 situation where any other outcome might shake your very belief in the fundamental nature of the sport. No: Liverpool finished one point behind City last season, and preseason betting markets projected them to finish four points back in 2022-23. These are just predicted average outcomes; they’re not bedrock truths, and soccer matches are frequently decided by random events.
Liverpool pushing beyond City this season wouldn’t have shocked anyone because, well, we’d already seen it happen once before — in 2019-20, when Jurgen Klopp & Co. finished 18 points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side. That, of course, is not what happened. Although they have a game in hand, City are eight points back of… Arsenal, who haven’t finished higher than fifth since Guardiola’s and Klopp’s first full seasons in England.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are currently in sixth and are averaging only the seventh-most points per game. They’re seven points back of fourth place; they’re 19 behind City; they’re 27 off the top.
Before the season, it seemed as if this Saturday’s match at the Etihad would be the biggest of the Premier League season: the final game between the two teams expected to battle it out, once again, for first place. Now, it’s still a massive match — only that’s for City’s chances of keeping pace with Arsenal and Liverpool’s hopes of climbing back into the Champions League places.
So after four years of near-constant excellence from Liverpool and Manchester City — performances that would’ve won multiple extra trophies at any other time in English soccer history — is the Premier League’s preeminent rivalry officially over.
Klopp and Guardiola’s rivalry, in fairness, has never quite descended into the kind of petty, tit-for-tat we saw during that Ferguson-Wenger era, although the off-field enmity between Liverpool and City has undoubtedly risen in recent years.
There were unsavoury incidents at the League Cup fourth-round tie at the Etihad in December, while Saturday’s latest Premier League clash will be played in front of a reduced away end, City having restricted Liverpool’s ticket allocation by 20 percent following discussions with Greater Manchester Police – a move which led Liverpool to complain to the Premier League.
Steps have been taken to ease tensions – a joint statement was issued in the wake of that League Cup tie in December – but it is fair to say that there is little love lost between the clubs, particularly at executive level, and that is unlikely to change any time soon, particularly as City fight to clear their name having been accused in February of more than 100 breaches of the Premier League’s financial rules.
Across the history of the Premier League — perhaps the history … of sports? — nobody had a better understanding of how to sustain long-term dominance than Sir Alex Ferguson. In 21 Premier League seasons as Manchester United manager, his teams won 13 titles. They won back-to-back titles six times. They never went more than three seasons without winning the league, and the one time they did go even three seasons without a title, they followed it up with three straight titles for the second time.
Whether or not he knew it, the idea of the four-year cycle tracks with research into player peaks. Although it varies by position, the average player tends to have about four years of prime-level play from around the ages of 24 through 28. If players tend to sustain their highest levels of performance for only four seasons, then the same would seem to hold true for the teams that are composed of those players.
And so, if we look at all Premier League teams as collections of four-year cycles, then we just spent the past four years watching the two best Premier League teams of all time — at the same time. OK, that’s not quite true; we just saw four of the best Premier League squads of all time, but three of them are the same club.
All season, we have mainly had all the squad who were ready. But you can also have a period with lots of injuries, you don’t know.
“Generally, I’m happy to be arriving to the end of the season with mainly all the players. With this amount of games with just 11/12 players, it’s not possible, everyone has to be involved and we’ll see what happens.”
Man City will close the gap on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League to five points if they beat Liverpool, with the Gunners hosting Leeds later on Saturday.
But while the north London club are City’s closest rival for this season’s Premier League title, Guardiola says Jurgen Klopp’s side remain a fierce rival.When Ferguson gave his HBR interview, it seemed as if soccer was entering a new era. With the rise of the director of football position and Premier League clubs beginning to adopt something closer to the American model of sports organizations, managers suddenly had less power.
They coached the team and had some input in who was acquired and who left the club, but the days of Ferguson controlling just about everything at one of the biggest clubs in the world were over. This structural reorganization made managers more disposable.
Much of Ferguson’s insight is tinged with a bit of nostalgia for a bygone era. These new-fangled modern teams, they just don’t have any patience anymore! “In today’s football world, with a new breed of directors and owners, I am not sure any club would have the patience to wait for a manager to build a team over a four-year period.
Although he was right — most Premier League managers last for only a couple of seasons — both Klopp (seven-and-a-half years running) and Guardiola (in the midst of his seventh full season) have achieved the kind of longevity Ferguson believed was necessary to create consistent success.
“We tried to visualize the team three or four years ahead and make decisions accordingly,” he said. “Because I was at United for such a long time, I could afford to plan ahead. I was very fortunate in that respect. The hardest thing is to let go of a player who has been a great guy — but all the evidence is on the field.”