Liverpool are yet to lose this season in all competitions, but will face a stern examination from Manchester City this Saturday.
Since Jurgen Klopp took over, the Reds have won three and drawn one of their Premier League games against Manchester City, including a 4-1 demolition of this week’s opponents in November 2015.
Simon Mignolet was rested for Liverpool’s last league game against Arsenal, but is expected to be restored to the line-up for this one. Loris Karius, who kept a clean sheet as he deputised, is likely to be Liverpool goalkeeper in the Champions League, starting with Sevilla at Anfield on Wednesday.
Long-term absentees Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne remain sidelined.
Philippe Coutinho was expected to start on the bench, having returned from the supposed back injury he was carrying until he played for Brazil over the international break, but Jurgen Klopp revealed in his press conference that he won’t even make the squad.
“He could have played 15, 20 minutes, but I think it makes sense – he agreed completely,” Klopp said. Coutinho will instead use the time between now and Wednesday for training to get back up to match sharpness.
For City, the biggest issue in terms of their line-up is likely to be at centre back, with Vincent Kompany likely to miss the game through injury.
Former Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling will miss the game as he is suspended after being sent off for celebrating his winning goal against Bournemouth two weeks ago.
“City have the same problem as us. They’ve only really got one session to prepare to face us, and that’s difficult,” Klopp said, clearly not happy with the early kick-off straight after the international break.
Klopp also touched on new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who will hope to make his Liverpool debut, either off the bench or from the start.
Klopp said, “[He can play] in a few positions. We want to have him on the pitch as often as possible”.
On rotating the squad and having options to make changes, he added, “We want to use different line-ups, but rhythm is also important. It’s important we have options.
“You have to accept that this is the beginning of the season. I cannot make all the players happy in each second of the day.
“We need to minimise the risk to have injured players. Nobody should play 60 games a season”.
Klopp also was full of praise for Ben Woodburn, who exploded onto the international scene with Wales in their two vital World Cup qualifiers.
“We need to protect Ben but he’s not just a very, very good footballer, he’s also a very smart person. I saw [his] interview with Gareth Bale and I could see what it meant to him”.
Woodburn is unlikely to feature against Manchester City given the wealth of attacking options at Klopp’s disposal despite the lack of Coutinho, but will have a big role to play at the club as his career progresses.
Whatever the personnel involved, one thing that can be guaranteed is goals. With neither side particularly defensively capable, it should be a sumptuous viewing for the neutral, with plenty of twists and turns throughout.
WHEN DOES THE GAME KICK OFF?
The match starts at 12:30 BST and is live on Sky Sports in the UK.
WHO IS THE REFEREE?
Jon Moss – born in the North-East, but now residing in Yorkshire, Moss has been in the Premier League since 2011.
He oversaw Liverpool’s wins at Middlesbrough and West Brom last season, as well as their 2-1 win over Tottenham in the EFL Cup, and was in charge as Manchester City beat Bournemouth 4-0 and Hull City 3-1 at home and won 5-0 away at Watford on the final day of the season.
This is the first time this season he has refereed either side.
Sadio Mane has scored in each of his last four Liverpool matches in the Premier League. Only Michael Owen, Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Sturridge have managed a run of five or more successive goalscoring appearances.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, D. Silva; Sane, Aguero, Jesus
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