Liverpool faces off against Manchester City on Monday night in the first battle between giants of this young EPL season. Both teams are coming off of a win in their first fixture. City’s first game was a clinical exposition of their champion quality, while Liverpool struggled against Southampton but was able to lock up their three points thanks to a goal in the 79th minute from Daniel Sturridge.
Last Match Up
When these teams last met in April, we were left with images of Stephan Gerrard crying tears of joy as Liverpool defeated City 3-2 and took one step closer to their first EPL title in 24 years. An injury ridden Manchester squad that lost Yaya Toure in the first half, was unable to stop Liverpool from taking an early 2-0 lead. However the Citizens pushed back in the second half and managed to tie the game 2-2. The defining moment of the game was Vincent Kompany’s slip that led to the game winning Coutinho goal, eerily foreshadowed Gerrard’s now famous gaff against Chelsea. Liverpool played with a feverish intensity and desire from the start and was able to contain the late push by the Blues. This was a pivotal game for both teams last season. In hindsight, at no point did the future finish of both squads look as juxtaposed then they did at the end of this game. This game was one of the best of last season.
This game does not need any more reason to watch. If the drama of their last meeting doesn’t have even the casual fan tuning in to watch the rematch, they aren’t fans of the sport. But, with the likely return of Mario Balotelli to the Ethiad Stadium in a Liverpool kit, this is now a must watch fixture. The enigmatic star looks to line up next to Daniel Sturridge in a pairing that could explode in internal fights or could sprout a fruitful, goal-filled, competitive rivalry. Balotelli is sure to be the “Key-Player” for the tabloids, but the real story of this game is going to be in the midfield.
Yaya Toure and Fernando dominated an impressive Newcastle team last Sunday. The two worked as a tireless tandem. In contrast, Liverpool’s sloth-like duo of Gerrard and Lucas struggled to slow down Southampton. Liverpool has to come into this game with a defensive minded strategy, stepping onto a field where the Blues blew out some of the top teams in the league last year. If Gerrard and Lucas can stop (or even slow) City’s midfield line, Liverpool will have a chance in this game however the confidence of Liverpool fans must be wavering given their performance last week.
Champions win these games at home. Liverpool may have replaced their 31-goal-scoring biter for a dart-throwing-fire-starter (crazy begets crazy), but I expect City to win this game.
Dzeko puts City ahead early, Martin Skrtel has his own “Why always me?” moment scoring an own goal off of a Yaya Toure shot, and the Citizens stay up for good.
Manchester City 2-0 Liverpool
How do you see the top game of the Premier League weekend going on Monday? Can last year’s champions Manchester City beat the ‘nearly men’ of Liverpool? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .