1-0 (8' Wijnaldum)
Georgino Wijnaldum's Early Strike Ends The Year On A High Note

Georgino Wijnaldum's Early Strike Ends The Year On A High Note

maxwell-hogg
Maxwell Hogg
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Klopp is on the field, handing out hugs left and right and applauding the Kop. It is Liverpool who will go into 2017 challenging Chelsea for the league. I've been Maxwell Hogg with VAVEL. Make sure you stick around for all the post-match coverage.

It wasn't a beautiful display from Liverpool. The clean, overlapping passes and runs were mostly absent. But they took their chance and denied City any real chance. 

FT: And it is all over! Aguero is offside and Pawson blows the whistle on the resulting free kick. Gini Wijnaldum struck early and Liverpool were able to hold City off with a marvelous defensive effort. 

90+3' YELLOW CARD Otamendia earns a booking for fouling Origi while trying to hold him off the ball. Liverpool put the ball into the corner to waste time. "You'll Never Walk Alone" rings loud from the Kop.

90+2' Every single red shirt is in the Liverpool half as they look to hold off City. Only Origi is forward in case there is a chance for a poacher's goal.

90' Four minutes of stoppage time at Anfield as the Kop audibly groans. Not sure about that decision as there haven't been many stoppages of play this half.

89' SUBSTITUTIONS Iheanacho comes in for Yaya Toure and Mane makes way for Lucas Leiva.

88' Liverpool are just trying to hold onto possession here and see the game out. Silva nearly receives the ball on his feet in the box, but Lallana dispatches him with a fantastic shoulder to shoulder challenge.

86' SUBSTITUTION Zabaleta makes way for Jesus Navas. City starting to push forward in search of an equalizer.

85' Liverpool passing around the final third, but can't find a way into the City box. Time running out here for City.

83' A dangerous corner from Liverpool nearly finds Lovren's boot, but he misses the ball under pressure.

82' Liverpool starting to see more of the ball. The midfield is doing better at winning second chance balls and getting them into dangerous areas.

80' Origi with the chance for a breakaway, but can't settle the ball as it bounces over his head.

79' De Bruyne recieves the ball over the top in the corner, but his resulting cross deflects off Milner for a City corner that amounts to nothing.

78' The City fullbacks are getting farther up the field, and it has changed the game for them. Liverpool look dangerous on the counter-attack though.

76' City comfortable passing the ball around the back as they take their time find their runs. Sterling hooks a ball into the box, but it is handled by Klavan.

75' YELLOW CARD Emre Can chops down Raheem Sterling in the middle of the park as he was on his way.

73' It is all City here at Anfield as Liverpool is plagued by the same issues City struggled with in the first. The Reds struggling to link passes together and maintain possession.

71' Aguero earns a corner, but the kick is cleared by Klavan.

70' Origi get behind the back four, but has no support in the box before earning a corner kick. City then earn a free kick through Sterling.

68' Sterling makes his way down the Liverpool byline, but Milner is there once more to block his patch.

67' A free kick from De Bruyne is sent into the hands of Mignolet, but the Reds turn the ball over immediately. David Silva is all over the field and is creating much of City's offense.

66' Firmino breaks away down the side with Origi open in the middle, but the Brazilian gets too fancy as Kolarov handily disposses him.

64' SUBSTITUTION Jordan Henderson makes way for Divock Origi. Aguero earns a penalty on the right side of the Liverpool box.

62' City with their best chance of the game so far as a poor clearance found De Bruyne in space, but Lovren blocks the shot to kill the danger. After the corner, Milner went down and was slow to come on.

60' Foul from Henderson on De Bruyne in the middle of the pitch. City starting to handle Liverpool's pressing play as they grow into this match.

59' The resulting corner is volleyed at goal by Kolarov, but the shot is deflected multiple times before ending up in Mignolet's hands.

58' Sterling receives the ball in space and tries to whip a ball into the box, but Klavan is there to send it out for a corner.

57' Yaya Toure sends an impressive 30 yard pass over the top to Sterling, but the ball is too far in front of him to control the shot as it smashes into the side netting.

56' Silva cuts into the middle from the right side and finds some space for a shot. Its not far either, narrowly missing the far corner. City are starting find more space to work with and controlling the ball better.

54' An unremarkable shot from Aguero rolls into the arms of Mignolet, his first save of the day.

53' Sterling has remained relatively ineffective this half. He is getting closed down within seconds and is struggling to cope with the pressure.

52' Pressure in the City's final third leads to them just frantically clearing. They can't seem to string any offense together as Liverpool are winning all the second chance balls.

49' Liverpool passing smartly down the right side. Great passing from Lallana, Wijnaldum, and Mane to get into the box, but Otamendi steps up to clear the danger.

47' Big chance for Clyne to put Liverpool up 2-0 as he receives the ball in th front of goal, but can't settle the ball to get the shot off.

46' Wijnaldum passes back to the defense to get the second half started. City take the ball away and immediately send the ball Sterling's way. He tries to send the ball into the Liverpool box, but is smothered by Milner.

Other than the early yellow card from Klavan, the Liverpool defense has been faultless today. Minimal mistakes and lockdown defense. If Lovren can evade a yellow card and a subsequent one match ban, consider it a job well done by the Liverpool back four.

Man City saw more of the ball in the first half, with 57% possesion. It hasn't been meaningful possession however, with much of their time on the ball spent in the back or struggling in the midfield.

City switched both of their fullbacks for this fixture and it has turned out to be a poor decision. Liverpool are running down the side at will, with overlapping runs from Lallana and Wijnaldum opening plenty of space to work with.

So far Liverpool look the better side. The high pressing style is causing all kinds of problems for the City midfield. The visitors are trying to move the ball down the flanks, but each side is closed shut as Clyne and Milner are dominating their respective sides.

HT: Only one minute of stopapge time, and it amounts to nothing for neither side. Sterling got taken down by Milner in the corner, and the young England international shoved his leg in retaliation. Looks like tempers could start to flare in the second half.

45' Sterling skips past Milner, but Klavan is there and Sterling runs into a brick wall. The ball deflects off Sterling in the end for a Liverpool goal kick.

44' City passing around the back, but Adam Lallana forces a mistake from Yaya Toure. The resulting pass from Firmino is too slow, and Lallana is flagged for offside.

41' A good buildup by City dies abruptly as Silva passes to no one and abruptly turns around to Craig Pawson, calling for a foul on Mane.

39' Kolarov volleys an enticing ball across the ball, but no blue shirts are there to put it away. City starting to look a bit more dangerous.

38' Ragnar Klavan hold Fernandinho off on the Liverpool end before Mane draws a foul in the middle of the field. 

35' City under pressure in the back. It is taking every single player in the City back four just to get the ball forward. Liverpool's high pressing style is controling the pace of this match.

33' Liverpool just dominating the midfield. Two red shirts are on the ball at all times, completely disrupting the City midfield.

32' Risky business from Simon Mignolet as he mishandles a backpass, yet somehow flicks the ball over the oncoming Aguero to clear the ball.

30' Emre Can has a go from outside the box, curling one just wide. Right now it is all Liverpool as City struggles to string more than three passes together.

29' Milner sends a pass over the top towards an open Firmino, but the ball is a bit too far ahead and Bravo collects.

26' Wijnaldum, feeling confident, takes a shot from distance, but is nowhere near the target. Great build up to get the shot however.

25' Milner send the free kick in. Claudio Bravo unconvincingly punches the ball, clearing the ball to the sideline.

24' Adam Lallana is first to a 50/50 ball, drawing the foul from Fernandinho. The free kick is a fair distance out.

23' Roberto Firmino dances around Sterling and Zabaleta in City's corner before forcing the City captain to clear the ball.

22' Adam Lallana is flagged for offside as he makes his way down the right side. The resulting kick off leads to Aguero flagged for offside.

21' Now City is struggling to string passes together as Otamendi passes the ball out of bounds under zero pressure.

20' Some fancy juggling from Mane beats De Bruyne, but then shortly turns it over, leading to a high and wide attempt from Sterling.

18' Liverpool are starting to grow into this game. Starting to see more of the ball as the Reds connect more passes.

17' The resulting corner is poor and handled easily by City. The ball is sent back towards Lallana who can't handle the ball as it rolls out for a goal kick.

16' Mane receives the ball on the wing and cuts into the box. He beats Otamendi, but Kolarov is there to clean it up for a corner kick.

14' Raheem Sterling is shutdown on the wing once more, this time by Henderson. Keeping him off the ball will really hinder the City offense.

13' Liverpool are struggling to see much of the ball here. City having trouble getting the ball into the final third, but the Reds can't seem to hold on to the ball after causing turnovers.

11' Aguero has a go from a distance, but his shot didn't get the curl he expected as he fires wide.

10' City trying to calm down here and slow the game down once more. Anfield is up and rocking early on here.

8' GOOOOOAL! Smart hold up play from Adam Lallana on the left wing before hooking the ball into the box for Gini Wijnaldum head home with authority.

7' YELLOW CARD A bad back pass from Can leaves Klavan in no mans land as he takes down Aguero to receive the first booking of the year. 

5' Pressure on the defense as Lovren just clears the ball. City gets the ball back in play and immediately passes back. Patient buildup from City.

4' Sterling has a go at Milner, but the midfielder turned left-back cuts him off smartly, dealing with the threat.

3' Loud boos ring around Anfield everytime Sterling touches the ball. City passing around the back, getting closed down hard.

2' Kolarov steps up to take the free kick.... and fires directly into the wall and the ball is cleared.

KO: City gets the ball in play and we are underway. City works their offense and Raheem Sterling draws a foul outside the box. Early threat here for Liverpool.

Only 10 minutes left until kickoff. Make sure you handle any prematch business you have left, because you aren't going to want to miss a second. 

Still quite puzzled by Origi on the bench. The young striker was involved in seven goals in his last eight appearances. A clear tactical choice to help deal with City's midfield.

Pep Guardiola is shrugging off questions on the "fortress" status of Anfield with a bit of annoyance. No doubt he has heard about that all week, even experiencing the Anfield atmosphere firsthand on Tuesday.

Man U had a slight scare at Old Trafford, leaving it until late to win 2-1. Shame too given the numerous amount of saves Victor Valdes made today.

We are hitting FT in the earlier fixtures, Chelsea has handled their business at the Bridge, beating Stoke City 4-2. The pressure is on both sides to end 2016 with three points.

Neither side is known for their defense, but City's back four look particularly vulnerable. Stones has had many problems this season and is likely not 100% fitness wise. I also see Zabaleta struggling in his return to the lineup. 

No Firmino or Matip to be seen on the team sheet as expected, but the bench looks rather thin tonight, with Ovie Ejara and Trent Alexander-Arnold making the bench.

Manchester City Subs: Caballero, Clichy, Sagna, Fernando, A Garcia, Iheanacho, Navas

Manchester City XI: Bravo; Zabaleta (C), Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero

The surprise from the City side is John Stones' fitness. Expected to miss today's fixture after coming off early against Hull City, Stones starts in the back four alongside the returning Pablo Zabaleta.

Liverpool Sub: Karius, Moreno, Lucas, Alexander-Arnold, Ejara, Origi, Sturridge

Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Henderson (C), Wijnaldum, Can; Lallana, Mane, Firmino

The Liverpool side is in, and surprisingly Emre Can has returned to the starting lineup at Divock Origi's expense. Looks like we will have Roberto Firmino leading the lineup this evening.

Kick off is little over an hour away, but we still have plenty of buildup to get us by. Stay tuned with VAVEL for team news and all the updates.

Meanwhile, City centre-back John Stones exited the match against Hull early and is not expected to feature on New Years' Eve. However, Pablo Zabaleta has been cleared and could return to the team at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge received a gift against Stoke City when a poor backpass led to the striker scoring his league goal of the season, earning the praise of teammate Ragnar Klavan. He could make a case for a return to the starting XI if it weren't for the form of Divock Origi, who is scoring and assisting at will recently. Nonetheless, Sturridge poses a dangerous threat off the bench.

Liverpool are expected to field an unchanged side as Dejan Lovren avoided his fifth yellow card of the season during the week. However, a yellow card here for Lovren sees the Croatian miss the trip to Sunderland two days later. 

On the opposition, City fans await the return of Sergio Aguero as he returns to the side after serving his four-match ban. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the Argentine has proven time and time again that he always has his scoring boots laced up and will surely look to make an impact Saturday evening.

Jürgen Klopp was hopeful for that Philippe Coutinho would be available for this match when the Brazilian injured his ankle against Sunderland last month, but the boss has confirmed that both Coutinho and Joel Matip will be unavailable for the New Years' Eve clash.

The Reds have transformed Anfield into a fortress once more, according to newcomer Georgino Wijnaldum. City have a daunting task ahead of them as Liverpool haven't lost at home in 16 league matches, 23 in all competitions. City also haven't defeated Liverpool at Anfield in the league since 3 May 2003.

This fixture in recent years has become a must-watch as these two prolific goalscoring sides clash, but the stakes are high tonight as neither side can afford a loss in chase of leaders Chelsea. And with the Blues six and seven points ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City respectively, a draw here is a defeat for both sides.

The last time Liverpool and Manchester City met, the Reds bounced back from their Capital One Cup final defeat at the hands of City only three days prior and defeated the Citizens 3-0 in a one-sided affair at Anfield.

Amongst the Boxing Day fixtures were Manchester City, as they travelled to the KCOM Stadium to take on Hull City. The hosts gave City plenty of trouble for a majority of the game, but were ultimately dispatched 3-0. 

Liverpool ere in action mid-week, facing Stoke City at Anfield. Despite the Potters taking an early lead, Liverpool roared back to claim a 4-1 victory. For a more in-depth recollection of this week's match, check out Charlie Malam's review here

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute match coverage and commentary. Liverpool host fellow title contenders Manchester City this New Years' Eve in the 18th gameweek of the Premier League. The match is set to kick off at 17:30 GMT, but we have plenty of pre-match build-up and analysis from me, Maxwell Hogg, to tide you over until then. 

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