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Premier League preview, Liverpool v Manchester City, 8 November 2020 ~Omonaijablog

SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to the latest edition of a classic Premier League rivalry, as Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on the evening of Sunday 8 November 2020.

Liverpool come into the clash on the back of a narrow 2-1 home win over West Ham United – courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah and Diego Jota – which took them to the top of the log on 16 points.

“It means a lot, of course,” said Jota of his decisive goal, having also seen one ruled out by VAR against the Hammers. “[I was] always on the bench seeing the game and thinking what I could do differently to unlock the result. Fortunately, I did two goals, just one counted but in the end we got the victory. The most important [thing] was the win and we just want to keep winning games.”

City, meanwhile, are five points adrift of the Reds but have a game in hand. This past weekend they narrowly defeated Sheffield United 1-0 away, thanks to a well-taken goal from defender Kyle Walker. Manager Pep Guardiola admits that their attack has not been up to scratch.

“When you arrive in the second half with just a 1-0 lead anything can happen. They arrived down the side and showed patience and started making crosses. They had one clear chance in 90 minutes, so that is so good for us and how we defended,” said the City boss. “But when we arrive in the final third, we are not clinical enough. Nine goals in five games is not enough but I understand completely why for many reasons.”

Key players

Mohamed Salah – The Egyptian superstar keeps on banging in the goals for Liverpool and his form remains vital to their hopes of defending their Premier League title. Salah’s pace and ability to find pockets of space between the centre-back and left-back makes him an elusive attacker to mark, but City had better find a way to keep him under wraps or another Anfield loss will be in the offing.

Raheem Sterling – The former Liverpool player is always determined to perform strongly against the Reds and finally broke his duck in the teams’ last meeting, scoring the second goal in a 4-0 win. With that monkey off his back, Sterling can produce a more composed and measured performance as the Citizens chase a key win in this early stage of the season.

Head-to-head stats

In head-to-head terms, Liverpool and City have met in 215 matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 1893. The Reds have claimed 105 wins compared to 57 for the Citizens, while 53 games have been drawn.

The teams’ two Premier League meetings last season produced emphatic home wins: Liverpool triumphed 3-1 at Anfield in November 2019 thanks to goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, while City claimed revenge with a 4-0 win in the return game at the Etihad Stadium in July 2020, featuring strikes from Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden, as well as an own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Battles to watch

Jurgen Klopp v Pep Guardiola – Liverpool’s German manager has at times looked frustrated with his team’s inability to consistently play at a high intensity, but his problems don’t stack up compared to Guardiola’s worries over injuries and a lack of defensive midfield ballast. How the respective managers find a way around these issues could be key in deciding the match.

Andrew Robertson v Riyad Mahrez – The elusive movement of Man City’s Algerian winger, who is almost always looking to cut inside from the right to shoot or pass with his left foot, will be a problem for left-back Robertson, but the Scot himself offers a potent attacking outlet – particularly when trading diagonals with teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Jordan Henderson v Kevin De Bruyne – A classic midfield battle, with Liverpool’s gritty and resilient skipper looking to stamp his authority on City’s mercurial playmaker. De Bruyne’s pace, skill, shooting and range of passing are all far beyond Henderson’s abilities, but the Reds midfielder has a ton of heart and it would be no surprise to see him come out on top in this battle through sheer force of will.

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Match broadcast details

Sunday 8 November

5:30pm: Liverpool v Manchester City  – LIVE on SuperSport Premier League

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