The race for the Champions League spot is becoming utterly interesting with Premier League teams like Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United joining the race. Hence, when City host Reds at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (March 19), there will be no room for errors, and both the teams will be eager for three points to increase their chances for the Champions League next season.
This match is not only going to be about the two top EPL sides, but also about the managers. Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) and Pep Guardiola (Manchester City), who have both not been too impressive with their respective teams. It is such matches, which will test Klopp and Guardiola even more.
Liverpool might be confident of a good display against City as the Reds have always been in stupendous form when they play against a top side, though their form against smaller teams has been a problem. They cannot depend on this record of their for City will be keen to beat them as they have the ammunition.
City will be even more focussed in the Premier League now, after their exit from the Champions League, and Liverpool's talismanic offensive player Philippe Coutinho knows about the importance of Sunday's clash. If Liverpool manage to beat City, they will jump over City in the standings table.
"It's going to be a very important game. City are one of the big clubs in England, no doubt about that, and right now we are in a race with them for second place in the table. We need to win it," Liverpool's official website quoted Coutinho as saying.
"After being knocked out of the Champions League they will be even more focused on the Premier League, so we have to be ready. For us, this match is like a final because we have to beat them to move ahead of them in the table. That's our aim."
Klopp will look for Coutinho to sparkle along with Sadio Mane. However, it remains to be seen if Roberto Firmino is going to be fit for Liverpool. Their offence has always been brilliant. Reds need their defence to be solid and not allow much chances to players like Sergio Aguero, who is one of the best strikers in the league.
The City players will be desperate to get back to their winning ways after losing to Monaco in the Champions League. Pep and his players have come under criticism, and a win against Liverpool could be an ideal way to shut those critics. Though they have reached the FA Cup semifinals, and will aim for a silverware in that competition, their focus will be on Liverpool on Sunday.
Manchester City players are obviously disappointed with their last result, and they will be hungry to perform in front of their home fans against Liverpool.
"The players are sad. Like me they would have preferred to play against Liverpool and still be in the Champions League, flying after qualifying for the quarter-finals. But we aren't and we have to handle that. Football is like this. Sport is like this," Guardian quoted Guardiola as saying.
There are plenty of world-class players in the Manchester City squad with the likes of Aguero, Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and others to help the Citizens get past Liverpool. Though Liverpool might have injury concerns with Firmino and now also Divock Origi, City have no fresh problems with injury.
The match is expected to be a brilliant encounter, and this Premier League fixture has always seen lots of goals, and the same could be witnessed on Sunday too.
Where to Watch Live
CIty vs Liverpool is set for 10 pm IST start, 4:30 pm GMT, 12:30 pm ET,
India: TV: Star Sports Select HD2. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1. Live Streaming: Sky Go.
USA: TV: NBCSN, Telemundo. Live Streaming: NBC Sports Live.
Australia: TV: Optus Sport. Live Streaming: Optus Online.
Malaysia: TV: Astro SuperSport 3.
Middle East, Thailand: TV: Bein Sports Arabia. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.