It’s new year's eve and certainly, there is no better way to celebrate it for the football fans than the mouthwatering clash on offer at the Anfield. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, previous Bundesliga rivals, meet again but for the first time in the Premier League.
It is a battle for the second place as we approach the turn of the year. Both teams have been in free-scoring form and that, along with their defensive frailties, guarantees a goal-fest.
1. A blooming rivalry
Liverpool and Man City - although not traditional rivals - have produced some of the most dramatic matches in recent memories. From the League Cup final last year (which went on to the penalty and, eventually, saw Man City lift the cup) to the gripping 3-2 win for the Reds in the 2013-14 season, there have been some thrilling encounters between these two Premier League giants.
The transfer of Raheem Sterling to Man City in 2015 has only added a bit more spice to the encounters. The contest between Klopp and Guardiola further sets the tone for a fierce battle as the rivalry continues to bloom.
2. Race for the title
Both teams enter the match in form, winning their last three fixtures respectively.
Liverpool defeated Middlesbrough convincingly before an injury-time winner against Everton gave the reds three important points at the Goodison Park. Their latest victory came against Stoke City as they came from behind in some style to win 4-1. Man City, on the other hand, defeated Arsenal 2-1 before hammering Hull City 3-0 last week.
3. Klopp vs Pep
The Premier League 2016-17 has reignited a lot of the old managerial rivalries. Pep and Guardiola, two of the finest coaches in the game at the moment, will go head to head again but for the first time in England.
Having faced each other eight times in the Bundesliga previously, Pep and Guardiola have four wins each so far. However, it’s not just a clash of names, it is also a tactical clash. Both managers have a distinct tactical approach to the game. While Guardiola believes in a patient tiki-taka approach, Klopp is known for his “heavy metal
4. The return of Aguero
The biggest news for Man City is that Sergio Aguero is back after facing a four-match suspension given to him after his involvement in the ugly scenes in the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Liverpool boss Klopp admitted a well rested Aguero will only make life difficult for the reds. The German was quoted saying,“What can I say? He’s back. Good striker; I have never made a secret of it. That makes life not easier for us – but we knew it before”.
Having scored sixteen goals in nineteen matches this season so far, the Argentine is likely to start for City and will be looking to recommence the season with a goal.
5. Guaranteed goal fest
Liverpool is Premier League’s top scorer with 45 goals in 18 matches. Man City are not from far from the reds, with 39 goals they are the second highest scorer.
Both Liverpool and Man City have quality in their attack. But the defense line has been shaky at both the ends of the pitch. With tactics of each manager at variance to each other, it is bound to be an intense game. While both teams will look to stay calm at the back, the case hasn’t been the same so far. Against the likes of Mane and Firmino, Man City won’t have a moment to relax and the same applies for Liverpool as they face a daunting task to contain Aguero, De Bruyne, and Silva.
There will be goals. Perhaps, a scoreline of 4-3 or 5-4 could be expected!
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