Liverpool vs Man City Klopp expects defence to decide Anfield showdown

"City have the highest quality in the team and highest quality on the bench".

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that he is not used to trailing other teams in the table, but refuses to throw in the towel just yet. However, when City responded, and the game moved into the Reds' half forcing them to protect a slender lead, Jurgen Klopp's men didn't buckle. As he summed up the significance of the win over Manchester City, Klopp showed himself to be more like the Liverpool managers of old.

Starting the new season off with a bang, Liverpool played out an exciting fixture against fellow title-contenders Arsenal, winning the game 3-4 thanks to goals from Coutinho, Lallana and Mane.

"There are many, many things to fight for", he told a post-match news conference. Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, Chelsea's Diego Costa, Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez and Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all started 17 of their 18 league matches.

Georginio Wijnaldum's early header was enough to give second-place Liverpool a 1-0 win at Anfield on Saturday, leaving City 10 points shy of runaway leaders Chelsea at the midway point of the campaign. Champions Leicester City are deep in trouble after just one win in nine games and will again be without the suspended Jamie Vardy against fast improving West Ham United.

After a 4-1 comeback victory over Stoke City on the 27th, Liverpool will take on City a mere two days later and Sunderland less than 48 hours after that. Spells of promise under Gerard Houllier, Rafael Benitez and Brendan Rodgers have all occurred when Liverpool have attacked directly, in various forms. If the home side can manipulate his position and put him under pressure, they can keep him relatively quiet.

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"Manchester City's passing game will make it hard". Sergio Aguero will make his comeback after his four game suspension ended against Hull City.

However, Guardiola remains positive and is ready to take on the challenge. Our forward players can be devastating but our defence is prone to conceding a goal or two against the better teams in the league. This team can defend, too.

Even if Liverpool fail to starve Aguero of the ball, they can still recover.

I'd expect to see Trent Alexander Arnold step in for Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan and Lucas to sit in front of Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno to make up our back four. Regardless of how much longer it continues, the Reds and Blues have surely both circled the Anfield fixture on January 31, when Chelsea comes to Merseyside to avenge its only home defeat of the season. Trailing to strikes from Stephen Ireland and Javier Garrido at the break, Liverpool never lost their self-belief and after a Fernando Torres double and Pablo Zabaleta's dismissal had turned the tide, Dirk Kuyt once again proving himself the striker for the big occasion with a close-range victor late on. We are happy about our way and what the rest is doing we can have no influence on until we play them. Their average 2.5 points per game without him and only 2.0 with him.

"The problem we had tonight was that we were not as good as we could have been (in possession)", he said.


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