The Premier League calendar year is set to begin on an explosive note as Manchester City take on the unbeaten Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola v Jurgen Klopp
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have a long-standing rivalry that dates back to their life in the Bundesliga. Klopp is a former Borussia Dortmund coach whilst Guardiola had a three-year stint with Dortmund’s bitter rivals Bayern Munich. They have also had occasion to write history in the English top-flight where they have met on five previous occasions for their current sides. The Manchester City boss has lost more matches against Liverpool’s Klopp than he has against anyone else in his managerial career, although only two of those defeats have come in home games. They have met seven times competitively with their current teams and results have been split with one City win, two draws and four victories for Liverpool. This will be yet another interesting opportunity to see two of the best-attacking sides around the globe.
City’ lacklustre form v Liverpool’s impeccable form
Liverpool are beginning the New Year flying high on confidence following a spectacular first half of the season. They smashed Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield in their last game of the year, following on from a 4-0 beating of Newcastle to make it nine league wins on the bounce. They have dropped just six points all season and have averaged 2.4 goals per game. Those dropped points do tell a more ominous story as they have all come against Premier League top six sides. They drew away to Chelsea and Arsenal and whilst the other draw came at home to Manchester City.
Manchester City for their part have had a fairly good season with the exception of December where they lost three Premier League fixtures. Their defence has not been up to speed especially since the injury to Benjamin Mendy. They won their last fixture away to Southampton, but they will surely need more than luck to get anything out of this Liverpool side that have not looked stretched at all since the start of the season.
Sterling v Salah
Both Liverpool and Manchester City have some impressive attacking players capable of unlocking stubborn defences. Raheem Sterling has been particularly a stand out performer for the Citizens. To this end, he has found the net on seven occasions in just eight home league appearances this season. In total, he has recorded nine goals and six assists since the start of the season.
Mohamed Salah is to Liverpool what Sterling has been to City. Ever since he made the switch from Roma to Liverpool he has distinguished himself as a top class striker as he led the goalscorer charts last season. Salah has been directly involved in five goals in his last four games against Manchester City in all competitions. He has been 13 goals and seven assists in the league this season and he will play a key role in the determination of the outcome of this fixture.