Liverpool and Manchester City have been terrific going forward this season, while they have also been prone to mistakes and calamities at the back. So, all that points to a wonderfully-engaging, high-scoring Premier League match on New Year's Eve.
With Manchester City not having a great record at Anfield and Liverpool turning their iconic home ground into a fortress again it is difficult to see the Reds losing this match. Here's a prediction of how the last Premier League game of 2016 might go (this prediction is going to be stretching the realms of possibility a little, so do take it with a little pinch of salt and hey it is the final game of the year, so why not hope for a memorable one).
First half: A little cagey to start with as both teams, wary of the opponent's strong offence, stand back in a "you first, no you first please," game. However, after the first 10-15 minutes, the game suddenly explodes into life. It happens thanks to the opening goal, scored by Liverpool, with James Milner's freekick from the left turned in by Dejan Lovren.
City, with no choice, but to attack, take the game to Liverpool and there are quite a few chances created at both ends of the pitch. Liverpool, though, jump into a 2-0 lead thanks to the brilliance of Adam Lallana. Sadio Mane, from the right, cuts the ball back to Lallana, who fakes a shot, leaving Nicolas Otamendi on the floor, before waltzing into the City penalty area. He then dribbles past Gael Clichy and with space opening up, the England midfielder has the presence of mind to chip the ball over the onrushing Claudio Bravo.
Guardiola is now starting to look desperate on the sideline, but his players on the pitch look determined. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne combine to carve out a chance and from the ensuing corner, John Stones, the former Everton man, heads in to halve the deficit. The relentless attacks from both teams show no signs of ceasing and after Liverpool nearly make it 3-1, when Firmino forces an acrobatic save from Bravo, it is City who equalise, via a Kevin De Bruyne special – fired in from 25 yards, dipping and swerving and leaving Simon Mignolet with no chance.
Second half: With the scores locked at 2-2, a strong start in the second 45 is necessary for both teams and it is the home side who do that as Firmino makes it 3-2. Lallana is the creator, picking up the ball on the edge of the box off a pass from Jordan Henderson, before slipping in Firmino, who runs beyond Clichy to slot the ball home into the far corner. It soon becomes 4-2 as Lallana completes his brace. It is a simple tap-in this time, with Mane producing a fantastic low cross and Klopp the celebrations after the ball hits the back of the net.
The match looks over right now, but City, knowing how calamitous a loss can be to their title hopes, crank up the pressure and it pays off when Silva plays a through ball to Aguero to fire home first-time. Yaya Toure now stamps his mark on the game, with the midfielder powering his way through a static Liverpool midfield and defence before producing a nice finish.
Amazingly, City jump into a 5-4 lead as Aguero grabs a double. This is from the penalty spot after De Bruyne is brought down by Nathaniel Clyne.
Liverpool look deflated now, but with time ticking down they throw the proverbial kitchen sink at City and that works as Ragnar Klavan, of all people, bundles home from close range after some massive City confusion and panic at the back.