From one side of Merseyside to another, Manchester City face Liverpool at Anfield in one of the most highly anticipated Champions League quarter-finals we have had for years.
City are coming off the back of a fantastic 3-1 victory against Everton, whereby that first-half alone will have acted as a warning sign to Liverpool to remind them of what City are capable of despite the international break.
Liverpool came back to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 with Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah providing the goals. This will be something City will be mindful of and looking to stop in the first leg and Anfield, and the second leg the following week at the Etihad.
With City’s only loss in the Premier League coming to the upcoming opponents, we will be looking to make amends for this in the Champions League and stand ourselves in good stead for the return leg.
Here is my predicted team…
Ederson will continue to be ever-present between the sticks. Despite not starting in the last game of this competition, a 2-1 loss at home to FC Basel, he will be sure to return in a much more strengthened team to what we played in the last 16.
Kyle Walker will retain his spot as City’s first-choice right-back, and his pace will certainly be needed to defend adeptly against Mané. On the left-side of defence, Aymeric Laporte should continue following his test at Goodison Park last weekend. He dealt with troublesome Theo Walcott competently and his defensive ability, which is superior to that of Danilo and Aleks Zinchenko, should mean he is better equipped to face Salah.
Nicolas Otamendi will continue to be the main man in the back-line. John Stones should return to partner the Argentine following a lengthy spell-out due to a lack of form and concussion suffered whilst on England duty. The pair’s passing ability and composure will be much needed under such pressure from Liverpool’s forwards and to find much-needed space ahead of them.
In the midfield trio, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva are all expected to continue their fine form after linking up perfectly to dissemble Everton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Wayne Rooney last week. At Anfield with Emre Can and Adam Lallana ruled out, City’s trio could find joy if they can replicate their performance on Merseyside.
All of the front three bagged a goal at Everton, however, due to Raheem Sterling’s poor form at Anfield over the years, Bernardo Silva may be more suited to face Robertson using his ability to cut-in rather than taking him down the line like Sterling would. He would be joined by Leroy Sané and Gabriel Jesus to complete a deadly front-three capable of scoring against a weakened Liverpool back-line.