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Since their shambolic 4-1 defeat to Spurs back in late October, Liverpool have upturned their season masterly and are enjoying a 17-game unbeaten streak ahead of their massive Sunday outing against league leaders Manchester City at Anfield, who are still unbeaten in domestic competitions. The game against Liverpool is believed to be the one that might draw an end to their hopes of winning the league unbeaten.
The Reds, however, are not particularly having an enjoyable phase currently following the egress of Brazilian superstar Philippe Coutinho. The free-scoring Liverpool have been grinding out results in recent weeks due to the lack of enough creativity up front. Although the in-form Mohamed Salah is set to return from his injury, the Cityzens are still the favourites to retain their sensational ‘no defeat’ status and draw an end to Klopp’s unbeaten streak.
The charismatic Liverpool gaffer, however, is optimistic about a favourable outcome in spite of suffering a 5-0 defeat in the reverse fixture and his side’s dominant Anfield record against the Manchester giants is tipped to make this electrifying encounter an entertaining one.
Liverpool have a double injury boost as both Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge have returned to full training following their respective groin and thigh strains. Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno are not expected to be fit for the game, whereas Nathaniel Clyne remains a long-term absentee following his back surgery.
However, all eyes will be on Dutch centre-back Virgil Van Dijk who has already become a hero ahead of his league debut since joining from Southampton as soon as the transfer window reopened.
He scored a late winner against rivals Everton in front of the kop to knock the Toffees out of the FA Cup competition. He will have a huge test ahead though, as the fans and the gaffer are counting on him big time to sort out the defensive lapses for the remainder of the campaign.
Although Klopp has experimented with his team’s setup at times, the game against City is too big to carry out any experiment and a usual 4-3-3 lineup is expected to be fielded on Sunday afternoon.
The Belgian has been criticised for his costly mistakes but is set to return between the sticks, replacing young German Loris Karius who got a nod to feature against Everton last Friday.
The young English international has been a little disappointing in recent weeks but is expected to retain his place due to his defensive composure. Gomez, however, needs to stay concentrated and focused, unlike in his past few outings.
Matip has mostly been the Reds’ first-choice centre-back over Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan. Klopp is expected to hand him a start in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
The Dutchman will be under immense pressure going into this game but his heroics in the Merseyside derby on his Liverpool debut would give him enough confidence to face the mighty Cityzens.
Has utilised his opportunities in Alberto Moreno’s injury absence and Robertson will be determined to maintain his impressive run when he faces the league’s best-attacking side this weekend.
The German international is likely to depart on a Bosman transfer in the summer amidst interest from Juventus but has maintained the professionalism of highest order and will give his best on this occasion if he is handed a start in the deep-lying midfield role.
Yet to regain his rhythm since returning from a long-term injury, the decorated midfielder needs to step up now in Coutinho’s absence and his hard work and mesmerising skills will benefit the Reds for the rest of the campaign.
The veteran Englishman might make it to the starting lineup against his former employers and his experience will allow the Reds to keep control of the midfield.
The iconic Egyptian wingman has been prolific in front of goal and his return from the injury will be a big boost for the Reds ahead of such a crucial game.
Despite struggling to regain his lost form, the former Saints wingman is still contributing to goals and the occasion of facing Manchester City will be the perfect platform for him to display his true colours.
The only Samba boy left in the team now who is hailed by the fans as well as the gaffer for his work ethics and goal-poaching traits. He will lead the line against Manchester City.