A trip to Man City is a daunting fixture for any side, but Liverpool have a chance to trouble Pep Guardiola’s “porous” defence, according to one Sky Blues fan.
After almost a fortnight since the 3-0 win at home to Brentford, the Reds return after the international break with a massive game.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are one point behind City going into Saturday’s meeting at the Etihad, so the result could have a major bearing on the title race.
It promises to be a fascinating match-up between two top-quality sides, as Liverpool look for a league win at the Etihad for the first time since 2015, and show that they are their rivals’ biggest threat to their title this season.
With the mouthwatering clash not too far away, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson got in touch with City fan and writer Simon Curtis (@bifana_bifana) to discuss the season to date, where the key battles lie this weekend on more.
How would you assess Man City’s season? Any chinks that you see preventing another title win?
Man City are top after a stuttering start to the season, which says a lot.
I think there is a possible unsettling effect of the talk around FA reprisals, and an increased possibility of injuries to important players thanks to a burdensome playing schedule.
On top of that, there is the obvious distraction of the Club World Cup next month and the emergence of a strong title challenger after Christmas, as has happened in the last couple of seasons.
Who has impressed for City so far this season?
Jeremy Doku has given the left flank a level of unpredictability not seen since Leroy Sane’s departure, while Ederson has shown what a great shot-stopper he is, having been called into action more frequently than usual.
Meanwhile, Phil Foden is coming into scorching good form and Julian Alvarez continues to build on his excellent work of last season.
Who do you see as City’s biggest title challenger?
Liverpool, because they have experience of what it takes and have a manager who can do it in Jurgen Klopp.
Arsenal are too flaky and their manager stokes up emotions when they need calming, while Spurs have a good manager but not enough good players.
Chelsea are too much of a mess to galvanise in time for this season, although there was promise in their thrilling 4-4 pulverising of City last time out.
Man United, meanwhile, have yet another “Messianic” manager who cannot see the wood for the trees – a vastly overpriced squad of prima donnas and a management/ownership structure that doesn’t know what it is doing.
What’s one thing you would change at the club?
The number at the bottom of the balance sheet that the Premier League are scrutinising so energetically.
What’s your take on VAR? Get rid of it?
I have been unequivocal about VAR right from the start and nothing has changed my opinion since.
It should be binned with immediate effect.
We have changed the drama of split-second, close-call decisions to ridiculous time-consuming, nit-picking over eyebrows and shoelaces straying offside.
Instead of giving the benefit of doubt to attacking players, we have poured water on progressive attacking by arguing over feeble inanities. Terrible.
Looking at Liverpool, what do you think has changed from last season?
More mature, more together, and a better balanced squad with a lot of the deadwood removed.
Not quite as sleek and trim as the first Klopp iteration, but approaching a similar level of efficacy with a new-look midfield that seems fit for purpose.
Where will the key battles take place on Saturday?
Man City‘s slightly more porous defence will need to tighten up against Liverpool’s nippy interchanging up front, but as usual, it will be a question of who wrests control of midfield and who can put the chances away.
That drops the spotlight broadly on Rodri and Erling Haaland, and how you respond to that threat.
Finally, what’s your prediction?
I will go for Man City 3-2 Liverpool.