Man city just recently beat Arsenal 2-1, and it was vital that they beat a title rival. Having already lost to Chelsea and Tottenham, Man United were the only other team in the top six they had beaten, when they won 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier on in the season. It can be argued that after City go to Hull, that their biggest challenge will be on New Years Eve,when they face a trip to Anfield and face up against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. I think that this will prove to be City’s biggest test this season for several reasons:
Liverpool have scored the most goals in the league so far
Liverpool cant stop scoring
No team has scored more than Liverpool this season, and this has mainly been down to the lethal and pacey strike force of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Phillipe Coutinho and Divock Origi. Klopp has trandformed Liverpool so much, that they no longer rely on Daniel Sturridge, and he has become a squad rotation player. Ever since the 2014/2015 season Liverpool have missed Sturridge, but now they don’t miss him whatsoever when he isn’t starting. Compare this to City, they are too reliant on Sergio Agüero, and although he may be one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history, when he doesn’t play City are nowhere near as potent up front. Liverpool however, even with Sturridge no longer a key player, and with Phillipe Coutinho injured, they still look just as much of a threat.
City’s shaky defence
It’s been the same old story with City for the past few seasons, their full backs are ageing and they need Vincent Kompany. Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Aleks Kolarov do not have the energy and pace to keep up with Mané, Firimino and Origi etc, and although Gael Clichy does, he is not the same player he was a few years ago, he is defensively vulnerable and physically weak. When you dwell into the centre of City’s defence, although they played very well against Arsenal, they have struggled against Spurs, Leicester and Chelsea, all teams who press. No team press the opposition more than Liverpool, and maybe with the exception of Chelsea, no team counter attack quicker than Liverpool. Nicolas Otamendi is having an incosistent season, John Stones has been dropped due to poor performances, Aleks Kolarov is too slow and not naturally at centre-back and their best defender Kompany is always injured! I could easily see Liverpool scoring three, as they did last season when they were victorious 3-0.
City are missing a leader in Vincent Kompany’s absence.
City’s poor record at Anfield
One thing that has always remained in the Premier League era, is that City’s record at Anfield is a miserable one. They last won in 1981, which was a 3-1 win for the Mancunian’s, and in their last six visits most they have (from most recent to most distant result) lost 3-0, lost 2-1, lost 3-2, drawn 2-2 and drawn 1-1 and lost 3-0 again. It is a record that City will be hoping to break on new years eve, and could depict how both sides season goes from the new year onwards.
City haven’t won at Anfield since 1981, something they will be looking to put an end to.
This article was written by Ben Tipper. Twitter – @bentippermcfc
Featured Image Credit: Cléria De Souza