Liverpool’s clashes with Manchester City have become a modern Premier League classic in the era of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, but Sunday’s clash at Anfield could already spell the end of the Reds’ title aspirations. The two clubs have shared English football supremacy over the past five years, with City twice edging thrilling title races against Liverpool by a single point in 2018/19 and last season. But a run of two wins from their first eight Premier League games left Liverpool 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and 13 behind City.
By contrast, the defending champions are averaging nearly four goals per game, with Erling Haaland’s arrival even taking a seasoned winners’ side to a new level.
Guardiola could afford the luxury of resting Haaland for a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen on Tuesday which sealed City’s place in the Champions League round of 16 with two games remaining.
The Norwegian has scored 20 times in just 12 games since Liverpool opened the season with a 3-1 victory over City in the Community Shield.
Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in 13 appearances since, with Haaland only managing to score once in his short Premier League career.
But City have only won once at Anfield since 2003 and that was in front of an empty stadium in February 2021.
“I expect them to be the best Liverpool they can be,” Kevin De Bruyne told Sky Sports.
“Obviously they’ve dropped points, but they’re still at Liverpool and I expect them to be good.”
There was at least some relief for Liverpool in a 7-1 demolition of Rangers in the Champions League on Wednesday as Mohamed Salah came off the bench to score the fastest hat-trick in the competition’s history.
“It changed the mood completely, but we all know who we are hosting on Sunday and it will be a different game,” Klopp said after putting the Glasgow giants to the sword at Ibrox.
Old Trafford test for Newcastle
Newcastle celebrated a year under the ownership of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund by beating Brentford 5-1 last weekend to enter the top six.
The Magpies have been beaten just once this season and a trip to Old Trafford on Sunday will be a barometer of both sides’ ambitions for the season.
Manchester United have won five of their last six league games but a 6-3 humiliation at the hands of City in the meantime showed they were far from the finished article in the early months of Erik ten Hag’s reign.
A first victory at Old Trafford since 2013 would bolster Tyneside’s belief that they can accelerate their road to the Champions League next season, especially with another opportunity to splash their wealth on the transfer market just weeks away.
Gerrard’s last fight?
Aston Villa may be on a four-game unbeaten streak, but the manner in which draw performances against 10-man Leeds and struggling Nottingham Forest in recent weeks have increased the pressure on Steven Gerrard’s position.
The former Liverpool captain has been heavily supported in the transfer market, but Villa’s ambitious owners see little return on their investment on the pitch.
Gerrard’s men are just three points above the relegation zone and face the daunting task of a Chelsea side in fine form since Graham Potter took over as manager on Sunday.
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