NYE might be the last day of 2016 but the Premier League sees two title contenders go head to head at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp faces off against Pep Guardiola as Liverpool meet Manchester City in the last match of 2016.
Both sides come into this game, having won their last three matches apiece. In terms of goals, Liverpool have scored eight compared to City’s seven in that period making this match very difficult to predict.
Klopp will have to make do without Phillippe Coutinho and Joel Matip, who are both out with ankle injuries.
Guardiola will be relieved to have Sergio Aguero back from his suspension along with John Stones, who recovered from a knee injury. Vincent Kompany and Leroy Sane remain long term absentees.
The fact that the match is an evening kick off makes the team strategies even tougher because both sides are in action less than 48 hours later on Monday.
Liverpool need to be more organised tactically in the opening stages than they were against Stoke. With Aguero back, there will be no room for errors because he will punish any slow starts instantly. The defence is the area to watch because they can be unpredictable and concede basic goals.
The Reds are excellent going forward in attack, so will be looking to pick up where they left off from Tuesday night. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and the central striker will be looking to starve Aguero time on the ball and keep play as high up as they possibly can.
Aguero’s return will boost the visitors who have struggled in the opening half of matches without his presence. As long as they get the ball to the Argentinean, Man City should be in with a chance of jumping above their North West rivals.
The visitor’s defence is however concerning because they often struggle without Kompany and are yet to keep consecutive clean sheets under Guardiola. With the opposition’s attack, things are only going to get worse for what is already a weak defence.
Looking at the squads available, both sides should score at least once. Anfield hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Citizens and I can’t see things improving with Klopp’s front three in such deadly form.
For City fans, their saving grace might be the fact that Klopp hasn’t beaten Guardiola in a live championship fixture, excluding the 3-0 win with Borussia Dortmund over Bayern Munich in April 2014 because Bayern had already secured the title by then.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City
Result: Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City