Liverpool entertain Manchester City in the first-leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night. The Reds are the only club to have inflicted a defeat on City in this season’s competition, and they will be aiming for a repeat performance prior to next week’s away leg at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United earlier last month, but they have since returned to winning ways with back-to-back victories over Watford and Crystal Palace. Mohamed Salah has been the standout performer during this period with five goals including a stupendous quadruple against the Hornets.
On the contrary, the Citizens’s previous defeat came in the form of a shock 1-0 loss to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fifth round. Since then, they have won seven straight matches including the 3-0 win over Arsenal in the League Cup final. The Mancunian outfit have the opportunity of sealing the Premier League title this weekend with a victory over arch-rivals Manchester United.
Players to watch for:
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool: The Egypt international has probably been ‘the signing of the season’ after contributing 36 goals for the Reds in all competitions. Barring the United defeat earlier this month, Salah has been a constant menace in the opposition box, he most-recently scored the winner with a coolly-timed finish against Crystal Palace. The 25-year-old gave a tough time to Fabian Delph during the Anfield defeat in January, and whoever plays at left-back may have to find a way of restricting the attacker’s movement, something which United’s Ashley Young did with perfection.
Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City: Despite Salah’s sublime showing at Liverpool, Kevin de Bruyne is a strong candidate to win the PFA Player of the Year award owing to his excellent all-round play. In addition to his usual interceptions in midfield, the Belgian has the unique gift of making pin-point passes/crosses for his forwards whilst on the move. Under Pep Guardiola, the 26-year-old has also improved his prowess in front of goal, and he has not been shy from shooting from long-range. This may be a test for Liverpool, in particular, with Loris Karius not the most-confident of goalkeepers in catching the ball.
Liverpool normally tend to show up against the elite clubs at Anfield, but they may play with a slightly cautious approach as they cannot afford to concede multiple away goals. Hence, we are fancying a hard-fought score-draw with City getting something from the game, Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City