LIVERPOOL – MANCHESTER CITY

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By Guy Mowbray BBC Match of the Day commentator

Barclays Premier League

  • Venue: Anfield
  • Date: Sunday, 13 April

TEAM NEWS

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is expected to be fit for Sunday’s Premier League game at title rivals Liverpool despite leaving training early on Saturday as a precaution.

Top scorer Sergio Aguero (hamstring) is set to feature after five games out.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers must decide whether to stick with Mamadou Sakho at centre-back or recall Daniel Agger following a knee problem.

Defender Jose Enrique remains out, but Joe Allen could return in midfield.

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

“Liverpool have been playing to a really high tempo at home and I would expect them to do that again. It means the opposition midfielders have their heads down when the ball comes to them in midfield because they have no space and time.

“It will be interesting to see how City deal with that, because they have not coped too well when teams have pressed them like that this season.”

MATCH PREVIEW

As if it isn’t always, Anfield will be a very special place to be on Sunday. Two days before the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough, all present – red and blue – will pay their respects as only the football family can to 96 members of our family who will never be forgotten.

Then, at seven minutes after the originally scheduled kick-off time – a fabulous countrywide gesture this weekend, a game worthy of the highest emotions will start.

In the stands and on the field it will be full of passion and could be pivotal, but with a month of the season to go we can’t call it decisive. Especially not with Chelsea going to Anfield next.

It’s remarkable that both teams go into the game as masters of their own destiny with regards to winning the title. Only a Liverpool win will keep it that way for them, whilst City could draw and still (in theory) have control.

Brendan Rodgers has done a superb job of taking the pressure off his side all season, and even as it ramps up to new levels he has insisted that they’ll “just try to enjoy” what is surely the biggest league game Liverpool have played in years.

There’s been lots TO enjoy lately, with the Reds on a run of nine Premier League wins in a row and 14 unbeaten – scoring 46 goals along the way.

Even though they’ve been overtaken by Liverpool (90 plays 84), City are of course good for a few goals themselves, with last week’s win over Southampton being the 16th time this season that they’ve scored four or more in a game.

The controversial second against Saints led to suggestions from some that they’ve been lucky of late with a decision or two. I would say that losing only one of their last 20 league games is little to do with luck overall – and who HASN’T won a title without a bit anyway?

The game, the noise, the (inevitable?) goals – I can’t wait. It’s the game of the season – so far.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Manchester City are unbeaten in their last five league      games against Liverpool (W2, D3).
  • Liverpool have lost only once in 16 Premier League      games at home to City (W10, D5) – a 2-1 defeat in 2003.
  • The two clubs have scored 92 first-half goals between      them: Liverpool 55, Manchester City 37. The next highest is Chelsea with      28.

Liverpool

  • The Reds are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League      matches, winning the last nine. They have score 46 goals during this      unbeaten period, an average of 3.2 goals per game.
  • Liverpool picked up seven points against the five teams      they are still to play from the reverse fixtures earlier this season.
  • Brendan Rodgers’ side have won all four home meetings      with fellow members of the top seven so far this season, scoring 14 and      conceding just once.
  • Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have scored 49 goals      this season – the only strike partnership in Premier League history to      score more in a season is Peter Beardsley and Andy Cole for Newcastle in      1993-94 (55 goals).
  • Rodgers’ side have failed to score in just two of their      33 league matches.
  • Steven Gerrard has provided a league-high seven assists      from dead-ball situations this season.

Manchester City

  • Manchester City accrued 15 points from the seven teams      they are still to play in the reverse fixtures from earlier this season.
  • City’s only defeat in their last 20 league games (W16,      D3) was 1-0 at home to fellow title-chasers Chelsea two months ago.
  • They have not lost in their last 10 away league matches      (W7, D3).
  • Manuel Pellegrini’s men have conceded in back-to-back      league games, having previously kept five consecutive Premier League clean      sheets.
  • Sergio Aguero has scored in five successive Premier      League appearances and has netted six league goals in his last six away      games.

 

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