It’s now the turn of Liverpool to try and stop Pep Guardiola’s irresistible Manchester City side. Laying a convincing claim for being the best team Europe have to offer this season, the Citizens have dropped just four points in the Premier League and lost only once across all competitions.
Indeed, the Reds face a formidable task, even at Anfield, but can history provide a source of inspiration as Jurgen Klopp prepares for the biggest home challenge he’ll come up against this season? Football FanCast take a look back at the history of Liverpool vs Man City throughout the Premier League era…
Although City were little more than mediocre mid-tablers before the Sheik takeover, Liverpool’s dominance of this fixture, particularly at home, is still somewhat surprising. Incredibly, City only boast just one Premier League victory at Anfield – which came all the way back in 2003 – and only eight over the Reds at all venues.
Accordingly, Liverpool have fared significantly better in terms of wins, goals scored and clean sheets during their 41 Premier League meetings, although they’ve picked up three more red cards than the Citizens – including Sadio Mane’s earlier this season for a high boot on goalkeeper Ederson.
The good news for the neutrals though, is that there have only ever been three scoreless draws between both sides in the Premier League, none of which took place on Merseyside.
Down the Premier League years, no player has scored more goals in this fixture than Liverpool legend Ian Rush, who produced eight goals in eight games – albeit only winning three of them.
All of those goals came during the first four seasons of the Premier League, most notably a brace during a 6-0 demolition at Anfield when the Reds were chasing the title and City were fighting for their lives in 20th place.
But there is only one member of the top five who could feature this weekend – Sergio Aguero. While the Argentine has bagged six goals in as many outings at the Etihad Stadium, however, he’s still awaiting a first Premier League goal at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ side had unexpectedly emerged from the chasing pack to become genuine contenders in a title race many assumed Manchester City would dominate from the start to the finish of the 2013/14 season, fuelled by the potent strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.
In fact, by the time City travelled to Anfield in April, poignantly falling on the anniversary week of Hillsborough, it was the Reds in pole position and the visitors lagging two places behind. This was Liverpool’s chance to make themselves favourites for the final run-in and the Merseysiders took it emphatically, scoring twice through Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel to lead with two clear goals at the interval.
Manuel Pellegrini’s boys hit back in the second half, drawing level through David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal, but it was the Reds who eventually emerged victorious as Philippe Coutinho popped up from midfield to net a delicious, low shot on the swivel in the 78th minute. The final whistle soon blew, but then came those fateful words from Steven Gerrard – ‘Don’t let this slip’.
Plenty have plied their trade with both clubs down the years, ranging from Steve McManaman to Mario Balotelli with Daniel Sturridge and David James somewhere in between.
But it’s still hard to look past the cultiest of cult heroes, James Milner, whose servitude to City saw him make over 200 appearances across all competitions and feature in a variety of roles spanning defensive midfield to emergency centre-forward. After winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup, Milner left for Anfield on a free transfer in summer 2015.
He’s since been fielded as a winger, a midfielder and a full-back by the Reds, become their designated penalty taker and worn the captain’s armband for sustained periods in the absence of Jordan Henderson.
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