Acid Test At Anfield
Liverpool host City at their historic Anfield ground in a game which will test the visitors` title credentials to the max, as well as offering the chance to go 7pts clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Kenny Dalglish's side are on a good run and have picked up some impressive results against the big boys, including a memorable 2-1 victory over Chelsea only last week.
With the Merseysider`s high in confidence it should make for an extremely entertaining game. Their opponents are currently unbeaten in the league and Roberto Mancini will be hoping that the run continues as he strives to emulate Arsenal's 'Invincibles'.
The loss against Napoli midweek will surely have had a negative effect on the squad and this game should show if they have the mentality to bounce back from adversity, or slide into decline, as Chelsea have managed to do so epically.
Last season, this fixture ended miserably for the Blues, succumbing to a 3-0 hammering courtesy of an Andy Carroll brace. His form this season has been less than impressive, but if he can regain his confidence and composure, he may just carry Liverpool into the top 4 this season. Let`s hope he has another stinker then.
Roberto Mancini was extremely respectful of the opposition in his pre-match conference, stating: 'Liverpool will be a very hard game on Sunday.
'Liverpool are a strong team. In my opinion they are 12 points under us but I think they have a team that can win the Premier League.
'The Barclays Premier League is difficult, it is long and hard. We have played only 12 games. The squads now at Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are why they can fight for the title.'
Liverpool Team News:
The main news is that Steven Gerrard is still out injured. He is a huge loss for Liverpool, but they managed without his against Chelsea and should do again.
The main talking point will be whether or not Dalglish reinstates Andy Carroll after leaving him on the bench for the heroic victory at Stamford bridge last Sunday.
Player to watch: Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan International is as frustrating as he is sublime. Often his ability is undermined by his selfishness on the ball. Sound like anyone we know?
Apart from his obvious comparisons to Tevez, Suarez is also not too dissimilar to City's golden boy Sergio Aguero with his fantastic footwork in and around the box. He is exactly the type of player Liverpool needed, and one which has delighted the KOP in the wake of the clubs slide into mediocrity.
Manchester City Team News:
Like Liverpool, City also have a quality midfielder missing in Owen Hargrieves who is still regaining match fitness.
Although he provides the Blues with obvious quality, Mancini has more than enough options at his disposal in Barry, de Jong, Milner and Yaya Toure.
Player to watch: Yaya Toure
The obvious choice, David Silva, hasn't been so impressive in recent weeks so instead I have gone for the huge Ivorian Yaya Toure, who was labelled 'buy of the century' by Garth Crooks last week.
While his demeanour on the pitch isn't always one of a man running his heart out, when he needs to run, he will run. Boy will he run.
His stature on the pitch is only matched by his stature off it. He is the closest thing you will get to Patrick Viera in his prime - his shirt number a tribute to the man himself (24 backwards).
Match Facts & Stats
Liverpool have recorded six wins and two draws in their last eight meetings with the Blues at Anfield.
Last seasons game at Anfield marks the last time City failed to score in the league. They have gone on to score 52 goals in 18 the games since.
Last week I honesty believed Newcastle would prove stiff opposition and claim a draw. As it turned out, their unbeaten run came to a dramatic end as the Citizens claimed another scalp to their growing list. Liverpool are a different kettle of fish altogether, but at home, they haven't really impressed. We all know they shine against the big teams, but then so do we. I think that Liverpool's midfield is easily their strongest asset, however, put up against City's and we have a real power struggle on our hands. If Liverpool opt for more width as expected in a 4-4-2 with the likes of Downing and Maxi, then I can see Charlie Adam being overrun by the strength of Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry. However, if Dalglish goes for the lone man upfront in a 4-5-1, then I feel his side stands a much better chance of causing an upset. As I don't think he will change things, I feel City easily surpass Liverpool man for man and I expect 3 hard fought points going back to Manchester. Liverpool 2-3 City.
Carling Cup: Away to Arsenal on Tuesday 29th October @ 8pm.