Saturday, 2 February 2013

Match Preview: Manchester City vs Liverpool

City hope to put poor midweek result behind them

By Aaron Leggott

It hasn't been the best of weeks to be a Manchester City fan. After the departure of Mario Balotelli to his boyhood club left City with only three recognised strikers ahead of the trip to Loftus Road on Tuesday. 

And to make matters worse, all three were unable to put any potential doubts to the back of City fans minds, as Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez all failed to find the net.

With the game finishing 0-0, it was an extremely poor result with title rivals Manchester United winning the day after at home to Southampton, extending the gap at the top to seven points. 

There is a good chance that City will go into this game 10 points behind United if the league leaders grab a win at Craven Cottage this evening and Roberto Mancini knows that there can't be many more slip ups if City are to retain the Premier League, and the Italian will be hoping his team can bounce back against Liverpool this weekend.
The Reds come into the game in some decent form, losing just twice in their last six league games and Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his team can upset the odds and take some points back to Anfield with them.

If they are to get anything from the game, you'd expect that Luis Suarez is key to the outcome of this encounter. 

The Uruguayan has been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks and grabbed yet another goal on Wednesday night after taking advantage of some calamitous Arsenal defending.

Mancini was present at the Emirates to see Liverpool take a deserved 2-0 lead, only to surrender and let Arsenal swiftly back into the game to see them drop yet more points in their quest for Champions League qualification. 

However, Liverpool will be boosted with the news that City captain Vincent Kompany is set to face three weeks on the sidelines, and will be aiming to be the first team to score against the Champions in 2013. 

Ahead of the game, we spoke to Liverpool fan Jed Gore, who gave us his views on the upcoming game. Jed is the owner of A Sporting Insight:

Who do you believe will carry the greatest threat for Manchester City on Sunday?

Jed: City have plenty of players that can be a real danger to Liverpool. From Aguero to Silva and Tevez, the list just goes on and on. I think that the performance of Liverpool's centre backs will be crucial to the game's outcome. 
Jed thinks Kompany will be a big loss
Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

Liverpool have failed to score in their last three league fixtures at the Etihad Stadium, do you believe you can put an end to that record this weekend?

Jed: Yes, I think that they can, especially with Kompany out injured. The Reds have been scoring quite a few recently and scored at the Etihad in the Carling Cup last season. 

Who do you think will be your key player if you are to get a positive result?

Jed: Suarez is always key but as I said before it will be the defence that will be crucial.

What is your predicted Liverpool line-up?

Jed: Reina, Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Johnson, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Suarez, Sturridge.

Do you think that the shock of last weekends cup exit gives you a chance to focus on finishing high in the table and do you believe Champions League qualification is a realistic possibility this season?

Jed: We have to just keep pushing on and trying to improve and see where that takes us. I definitely think that we can climb the table but Champions League qualification might just be a little bit far off now. 

Thanks to Jed for his views on the way tomorrow will pan out, and I wish his team luck for the rest of the season. Can Liverpool finally beat a team in the top 10 this season? We shall find out tomorrow...

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You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @aaron_leggott
You can also follow Jed on Twitter: @jedgore 

(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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