VMC Preview: The Reds v The Blues
Saturday, 21st November 2009
The time for numerous City stars giving interviews and Liverpool stars getting horse placenta injections is over. Cue Anfield six pointer
'Teams are dropping points and we have to make sure even when we don't play particularly well we can still take something from the game. Our attacking form is a positive and if it continues, we will be OK. But we have to improve defensively because we know we are better than this.'
VMC City Video Link: Mark Hughes: Benefits of the break
'Maybe we can start the season now. I am 100% sure everything will be totally different if we can win the game against City. It would be a big boost and the season can be good if we do well.'
Roque Santa Cruz
'People say this is a big game for City, to prove we are worthy of being called a big club. But this is also a big game for Liverpool. They'll look at us and see us above them in the table. Our main aim is to be in one of the Champions League places by finishing in the top four. So we need to go to Liverpool and prove we can take one of those places they want to be involved in. Next year we want to be playing in the Champions League at Manchester City.'
'We are training well and everyone is focused and ready to show what we are capable of against Manchester City.
They have signed a lot of good players and they are a good team but we have a good squad as well. They want to be in the top four but there are a lot of teams fighting for this. We have to push hard and start winning games. There is long way to go in the season and a lot of games left in the Premier League for us to put things right, starting with Manchester City.'
Liverpool Team News:
Liverpool have bemoaned an injury crisis for the majority of the first third of the season, but don't bet against them suddenly fielding a close to full strength side for this one. They are on red alert and well up for this as they see their "Big Four" place is at risk.
The influential Benayoun will certainly miss out, but Torres could be risked alongside a potential host of returning star names.
The likes of Carragher, Gerrard, Riera, Johnson could well all feature.
Player to watch: Steven Gerrard
Gerrard remains the Liverpool driving force. Relentlessly probing, strong in the tackle and ruthless if given a half chance at goal.
But he is still carrying a groin injury which is receiving injections. Sooner or later Benitez will have to consider resting his talisman.
Manchester CITY Team News:
City's globetrotters are all back at Carrington with only Petrov reporting back knacked once again from Bulgaria duty.
Sparky has revealed this week that Barry's recent dip in form has co-incided with a persistent groin injury that could require mid season rest.
Robinho might return, looking sharp in training, meanwhile but Onuoha and Kompany are two class acts that City can call upon.
Player to watch: Gareth Barry
Long term Anfield target Barry is sure to get his third earful of the season after rough treatment at Villa and Birmingham.
In both those fixtures he seemed to freeze and as yet we can't be sure if that was due to ongoing injury.
The battle in midfield is where this game will be won and lost. Barry and Gerrard's performances will be key.
Match Facts & Stats
City's Premier League record at Anfield is abysmal. We've won once this decade in 2003 when Nicolas Anelka scored a brace.
City have drawn their last 5 league fixtures. Don't bet against this being the sixth!
Get on board and join us in the VMC Forums as the build up to the clash at Liverpool continues:
VMC Link: Liverpool v City: Match Day Thread: KO 12.45pm Live Sky
P Dowd (Staffordshire) Dowd meets City for the first time this season after a steady flow of yellow cards and few reds. Ironically, he reffed City's 1-1 draw at Anfield back in February. Current season record: Games:13, Yellow Cards:49, Red Cards:4
They don't come much tougher than a trip to Anfield, whatever their form or modern era crises are supposed to be. Ask Taggart. So ignore the hype and focus on the fact that City had better get their shit in the right pile for this game. Fail to approach this combatively and at a high tempo and The Blues will register their second defeat of the season. Based on recent form, we cannot be over confident but expectations and stakes are high. City must deliver because these are precisely the type of games we must get something out of if we are to aspire to anything this season. There has been a lot of talk from some Blue stars this fortnight and it's time to tighten up and start walking the walk. I predict a tighter game than some are predicting as Liverpool are desperate to win. Johnny On The Spot: Liverpool 0 CITY 1
H: Hull City, Sat 28 Nov 1500 GMT
H: Arsenal, LCQF Wed 02 Dec 1945 GMT
H: Chelsea, Sat 05 Dec 1730 GMT