If squaring up to a team with the quality of Manchester City isn’t hard enough, Liverpool look set to do it with some major problems in their squad. Long term absentees Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge remain sidelined, but potentially joining them are Roberto Firmino with the Brazilian yet to recover from the thigh problem that kept him out of the meeting with Burnley FC last weekend and Divock Origi as the Belgian striker does his best to shake off a virus.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will have Dejan Lovren back at his disposal after the Croatian defender successfully returned from injury in earlier in the week as the U-23 squad downed their Chelsea counterparts, but that may not be enough to stem the tide of a Citizens side still reeling from an acrimonious exit from Europe on Tuesday night. If you ask James Milner, it’s going to come down to finding holes in their plan and taking advantage of them.
“It’s two completely different teams and styles of play, but two fantastic teams,” the Liverpool vice-captain told Sky Sports. “We always work on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. They’ve got a lot of top, top players,” mused the veteran utility-man. “David Silva is incredible, he always gets the weight of pass right, Raheem [Sterling] has gone and done really well, and obviously Sergio [Aguero] is so sharp around the box,” mused Milner, a man who knows a thing or two about City. “They’ve got a lot of top players to stop, but we’ve got a good record against them, we’ll set up the way the manager wants, we’ll set up in training this week, look at their weaknesses and hopefully exploit them.”
That, of course, is easier said than done, but the Citizens don’t have the best record against the Reds having lost five of their last six meetings with the Merseysiders — including a 4-1 drubbing in this fixture last season. Liverpool always seem to be up for the big games and with the race for Champions League football as tight as it’s ever been, this one is about as important as they come.