Manchester City and Liverpool face an important match that will put a lot at stake when they meet in Week 29 of the Premier League at Etihad Stadium on Saturday (1/4) at 6:30 PM WIB.
Judging from the current standings, the match will be a do-or-die battle for both teams. Manchester City, who is 8 points behind Arsenal, needs to win the match to reduce the point gap with The Gunners.
On the other hand, Liverpool, who is in 6th place, desperately needs points to increase their chances of finishing in the Champions League zone. Currently, The Reds are 7 points behind the top four.
“This is a final game for Manchester City. They have to win this match,” wrote former Arsenal playmaker, Paul Merson, in his column on skysports.com. “A win and a five-point gap and the pressure returns to Arsenal, who still have some tough matches to play. A draw for City and an Arsenal win against Leeds on Saturday would make the gap 10 points and that’s too far away. It’s a gap where you start thinking it might be over,” he said.
Manchester City aims to win four consecutive Premier League games for the first time this season, while Liverpool wants to complete the first Premier League double over Manchester City this season.
Manchester City is slightly worried about Erling Haaland’s fitness ahead of the important match against Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on Saturday (1/4). Manchester City fans are worried about the fitness of the goal machine, who is undergoing treatment for a groin injury and missed training on Thursday as the players returned from their respective national team games.
Haaland’s absence, coupled with the absence of English midfielder Phil Foden after an appendectomy, will be welcomed by Liverpool, who are in sixth place and still need a lot of points to reach the Champions League zone. However, City has a lot of squad choices with John Stones now fully fit.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will be without Stefan Bajcetic for the rest of the season after suffering an injury earlier this month. He joined Calvin Ramsay. While Thiago Alcantara is also expected to miss this match, Cody Gakpo is being assessed for fitness after withdrawing from the Netherlands squad due to illness. But Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson should be fit after recovering from injuries and viruses. Darwin Nunez should also play after recovering from an ankle injury that made him miss Uruguay’s match during the international break.
Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold admits he is always motivated when facing Man City. “Every time you play against Man City, the motivation is always there, whatever happens,” he said, as quoted from Talksport. “For the last five or six years, I would say we and they have been the best teams in the league, and they show their quality from year to year and consistently. They are always there as one of, if not the best team in the world. That will be the same on Saturday. We have to play a very good game and execute our game plan to have a chance of winning it. I think we can go there and get the result, but it’s about making sure we get it,” he said.
Haaland cannot be underestimated, after missing out on the Euro 2024 qualifying with Norway due to injury, Haaland is ready for this match. His 28 goals in the Premier League contributed 42% of all of City’s goals in the Premier League. In all competitions, he has scored 42 goals, including six hat-tricks – all of which came at the Etihad Stadium.
Only two players have scored more goals in a single Premier League season for a club (since 1992-93) – Ruud van Nistelrooy for Man Utd in 2002-03 and Mohamed Salah for Liverpool in 2017-18 (both with 44). This match will be a battle for Haaland against the best Premier League central defender, Virgil van Dijk. Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah has scored in all three Liverpool matches against Man City this season, in the Premier League, Community Shield, and EFL Cup.
The last Liverpool player to score in four different matches against an opponent in a season was Ian Rush, who scored in five different meetings with Everton in 1986-87 (including the FA Charity Shield). His Premier League goal tally is lower than usual this season (11 goals in 26 appearances), plus he missed a penalty in his last league appearance against Bournemouth.
However, he still remains their top scorer in the league this season above Roberto Firmino (8), Darwin Núñez (8), and Cody Gakpo (4). Mohamed Salah recently surpassed Robbie Fowler (128 goals) as Liverpool’s all-time leading Premier League scorer with 129 goals, with 104 of them scored with his favored left foot.
Manchester City vs Liverpool Premier League Matchweek 29 Venue: Etihad Stadium (Manchester) Saturday (1/4) at 6:30 PM WIB Expected Lineups Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Aké, Dias, Akanji, Stones; Gündogan, Rodri; Grealish, Bruyne, Silva; Haaland Manager: Pep Guardiola Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Konaté, Alexander-Arnold; Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott; Núñez, Gakpo, Salah Manager: Jurgen Klopp
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