LIverpool v Man City pundits predictions: Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson and Matt Le Tissier discuss Super Sunday at Anfield

Our Soccer Saturday pundits give their verdict on Liverpool v Man City in the Premier League
Our Soccer Saturday pundits give their verdict on Liverpool v Man City in the Premier League

Who needs to win more at Anfield? Who is better, Klopp or Pep? The Soccer Saturday pundits answer these questions and predict the outcome of Liverpool v Man City.


Phil Thompson

Selection dilemmas?

Lovren or Gomez

For me, I would go with Joe Gomez, I thought he was sloppy against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup, but I thought he was excellent against Genk on Tuesday - I watched him very closely on Tuesday. He was back to his best. The reason I would go with Gomez is because you don’t need the height as such, but you need the pace against Manchester City. I would go with him for our backline - Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, in which you have pace throughout. Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez all have skill but an abundance of pace - it is a massive part of the Manchester City mechanic.

Fabinho + Two: Has Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain forced his way into Klopp’s thinking?

I think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has forced his way in, and it gives Jurgen Klopp a dilemma. Does he think he is absolutely 100 per cent fit for such a massive game? He certainly looks it and he has to have consideration for this game. With Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, they never look to strike from 25-30 yards, especially the way Oxlade-Chamberlain does. He gives you an added strike power, particular at home. I can see the benefits of Henderson and Wijnaldum away from home, but at Anfield the other option can be striking from rage, which he excels in. As we saw against Genk and Arsenal, he can shoot from distance and cause an additional threat. This will be another dilemma for Klopp, as the front three speaks for itself. Fabinho is probably the best holding midfielder in the country at the moment, so I am not sure who will play alongside against him. Henderson and Wijnaldum will be sweating on their positions, but he may go with his tried and trusted and potentially look for the impact in the last 20 minutes with Oxlade-Chamberlain.

What will Liverpool’s approach to the match be?

I think Liverpool have got to be clever, it doesn’t have to be cagey. Pep Guardiola changed his tactics last year as the year before that they found themselves on the back of a beating before half-time. He changed his approach to be a bit more defensive. Kyle Walker came out and said that they were told not to venture as far forward and not to play into Liverpool’s hands. It worked for them to an extent, as Liverpool couldn’t counter-attack as well as they did two seasons ago. I think he will do a similar thing in this game, so Liverpool have to be ready for both scenarios. Pep is a very astute manager - he knows what his team possesses and he knows they are very good at what they do. Normally, City do not worry about the opposition, but in this context he knows Liverpool can blow you away in a 20 minute spell, so he can give respect where it is due. Klopp knows Man City’s pace and power and he will not want to be giving the ball away and allowing them to attack or counter-attack in any way.

I think it will be very cagey game, but my principle hope is that it will be a better match than the Anfield one last year. Because it is at Anfield, Liverpool will go with a high press and get the fans up for it. They will want to score the first goal to change the dynamic of the match, but Klopp will have caution in the back of his mind. Liverpool will have to be more adventurous than what City are going to be.

Who needs to win more?

I would have to say Manchester City. They cannot envisage a nine point gap after this game, so I think they would be looking at a nothing but a win scenario here. It is more important for them to get back on track and in the title race with a win. There are still only 11 games gone and a lot of games to play. Even at nine points, you will not get me that the Premier League is over and done with.

Who is doing a better job, Klopp or Pep?

I couldn’t begin to even debate this, and I wouldn’t like to. I love both of these managers and love what they do, how they play the game and how they react with the players. They are in charge, you can see that, but they have great empathy with the players and I think their tactics have improved players. It is very hard to split them.

Who are the key players for each team?

David Silva always plays well against Liverpool, but he is an injury doubt. Raheem Sterling will be on Real Madrid’s books and monitors I said, maybe not in January but in summer - he has become that sort of player, but you need someone to supply his ammunition, and that is where Kevin de Bruyne comes in. He is an incredible footballer. His vision, assists and energy is second to none. I think he is going to be the man for City.

Roberto Firmino is the man for Liverpool. If he is on form, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane come alive. If he starts linking up and causing problems, whether it be for John Stones or Nicolas Otamendi, because of his positional play. It will be so difficult to pick him up. He is so clever with his feet, and Salah and Mane know that. He is vital to how Liverpool perform as a front force and attack in general, and that is because the game is at Anfield.

Is the title race over if Liverpool win?

Absolutely not! Everybody else can talk and say what they want, but deep down, after a dozen games, so much can happen in a Premier League season, and you know that. Liverpool were in front last season and the lead can easily disintegrate. You can have a blip of pick up injuries, so it is far from over.

Prediction & scorers

Liverpool 2-0 Manchester City
Mohamed Salah (2)


Matt Le Tissier

Who needs to win more?

I would say, being six points adrift, Manchester City need the points more. If they do not, the title race is out of their hands. Anything other than a Man City win is a bonus for Liverpool. A draw puts the title in Liverpool’s hands.

Who is doing a better job, Klopp or Pep?

I would say Pep Guardiola, with back-to-back Premier League titles, is doing the better job at the moment. Jurgen Klopp won the Champions League, so it doesn’t put him too far behind pep. I think most people associated with Liverpool football club would have probably swapped the Champions League for back-to-back titles.

Who are the key players for each team?

I think for Liverpool it will be Sadio Mane. He has been incredibly lively and will cause problems for Manchester City, given their defensive pairings and situation currently. For City, Kevin de Bruyne is the one - if he controls and dictates that midfield, he gives them a good chance of winning this football match. Nine assists in 10 game is pretty good going!

Is the title race over if Liverpool win?

It is not over if Liverpool win, but a nine point gap with only playing City once gives them a huge advantage - it is a huge gap to bridge. It was a seven-point lead at one stage and that got whittled away even though Liverpool barely lost the game. A Liverpool win would be massive step towards it.

Prediction & scorers

Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City
Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain

Aguero, Sterling


The Charlie Nicholas verdict

This is the game of games. When I look back at the games I used to look forward to, they were the Man Utd v Liverpool’s, especially at Anfield, Man Utd v man City, but these are the games at Anfield, I love the whole scenario of these games. They are hard to understand and hard to read.

It was a rotten game of football last time, but this is what tension does the best of teams - City cannot afford to lose it. The Premier League would not be over, as a couple of draws and a defeat makes it wide open again - it is doable with Liverpool’s fixture list.

Man City’s weaknesses in defence will add to the game - you can only see goals in this one. Pep Guardiola’s side will not sit back, but they will suffocate the service into the front three of Liverpool and try to nullify the full-backs. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were way off it last week, with Sadio Mane carrying the front three and grabbing the match-winner at the death.

Pep will look at the pace of Mane and the accusations of diving, but I cannot see how these players will not be in a position to say there are goals here.

Do City and Liverpool play tactics here? I don’t think so. Liverpool are vulnerable defensively and have not been as good as last year, as we all knew, but they will be fairly happy with a point as it keeps everything going and ticking along.

It is one of these games, after the miserable feeling of the last one, which will give everyone a ‘wow’ moment. Sit back and enjoy the ride - it could go either way, it could be a 5-4 or a 1-0, but I am sitting on the fence until I see the starting teams.

Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City – 11/1 with Sky Bet

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