Liverpool host Manchester City this Sunday at Anfield in the first meeting of the season between the two title favourites.
Both sides are coming into this one with unbeaten records in the Premier League so far. However, the Reds’ recent results in all competitions don’t make for comfortable reading. Jurgen Klopp’s men will certainly have to be back to their best on Sunday if they’re to stand any chance of avoiding their first league defeat of the season at the hands of the reigning champions.
For the home side to thrive, they need their attacking contingent to produce the scintillating football they’re capable of and the Citizens certainly ought to be wary of the threat that Liverpool’s front three pose.
For that reason, Guardiola should not be tempted to select club legend Vincent Kompany in his starting XI. As fine a servant as the captain has been to City, the 32-year-old has looked to be past his best so far this season.
Nicolas Otamendi should be tasked with the responsibility of marshalling the backline in the Belgian’s stead. The Argentine has grown into a calm, confident and authoritative Premier League defender under Guardiola’s tutelage and can now lay claim to being amongst the finest centre-backs in the division.
Alongside the Argentine, the City boss has a tough call to make in selecting between Aymeric Laporte and John Stones. He should, however, favour the Englishman for this clash. Stones’ greater experience of the Premier League and ability on the ball will serve City well in avoiding too much pressure when the Reds push up the pitch.
What do you think, City fans – who would feature in your ideal centre-back pairing to face Liverpool?