Preview: Liverpool v Manchester City
Anfield offers a real test for City’s title credentials on Sunday. Following the defeat at Napoli there needs to be a positive response from the players against opponents who will be buoyed by last week’s defeat of Chelsea.
Anfield was also the scene of Roberto Mancini’s last poor performance on English soil with the 3-0 defeat that raised doubts about our ability to finish in the top four. All that now seems a long time ago yet the manager is unlikely to have forgotten the bruising encounter.
On that occasion Mancini rested Silva and de Jong, admitting afterwards he had made a mistake. Silva is sure to play on Sunday, but de Jong’s current form makes his inclusion more questionable. Excellent against Newcastle, bypassed by Napoli, Nigel has yet to rediscover his best form after injury. His value for the tricky fixtures that lie ahead shouldn’t be doubted however.
Alongside him there is real pressure from Barry and Milner to start ahead of Yaya who looks in need of a break. Two players who look sure to come in are Richards and Clichy after the debacle on the flanks in Naples.
Having barely featured against Napoli, it would make sense to give starts to Nasri and Aguero. Their cunning and movement could cause real problems to the Liverpool back line.
Mario has been our main threat up front, yet Mancini often rests the 21-year-old to keep him fresh. Having said that it would be a surprise to see Dzeko start after his ineffectual showing against Napoli. More likely we’ll see him against Arsenal in the Carling Cup, along with Kolarov and Zabaleta.
Andy Carroll had his best game for Liverpool in our last trip to Anfield. Lescott and Kompany ought to be better prepared this time and in any case Dalglish is more likely to stick closer to the side that defeated Chelsea.
Suarez is the obvious threat, while it will be important to stop the passing of Charlie Adam in midfield. The Scot caused us problems in both games against Blackpool last season.
Craig Bellamy taking on Micah Richards would be a fascinating duel. No doubt Bellers would like to get one over on Mancini, but Micah will also have a point to prove after missing out on Tuesday.
With so many teams at the top churning out the victories, it feels like City need to win every game to maintain their position. Hopefully our poor record at Anfield can be overcome with another three points.
Blue Days line-up:
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
de Jong – Y Toure
Silva – Aguero – Nasri
Prediction: 3-1 to City.