Liverpool vs. Manchester City Preview: English Heavyweights lock horns in Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield

Two of Englands best-attacking outfit's face-off in an all-English clash with a place in the semi-finals of the competition at stake.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City Preview: English Heavyweights lock horns in Champions League quarter-final first leg at Anfield
(Getty Images)

Champions League top-scorers Liverpool and Premier League champions-elect Manchester City meet at Anfield on Wednesday night for an all-English heavyweight clash in the sides first meeting since that astonishing 4-3 match back in January.

City travel to the five-time European winners in outstanding form with the opportunity to wrap up the Premier League on Saturday against Manchester rivals United on Saturday.

However, before that awaits a football match that is not just a battle for a place in the semi-finals, but is yet another clash between two of Europes most charismatic and attacking managers in Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Klopp boasts the better record against his Spanish rival winning six of his 12 clashes during his time at Borrusia Dortmund and Liverpool respectively. 

However, Guardiola has the edge this season as although his side suffered their only league defeat of the season at Anfield back in January the reverse fixture saw them inflict a 5-0 mauling of the Merseyside outfit back in September. 

Battle of the attacks 

Both managerial styles are different and while both managers have got the better over the over in the two league clashes this season it's hard to deny that the two clubs represent the best attacks in England. 

Klopp's style sees's Liverpool go all-out-attack with intensive pressing and constantly on the front foot. The Citizens, however, play the possession game similarly to when Guardiola dominated Europe with Barcelona. Despite the possession stats, City have been breathtaking all season with the earth-shattering pace of their superb attack.

Liverpool and Manchester City are the Premier Leagues highest scorers with 75 and 88 goals respectively - meaning this Champions League tie can be considered the most anticipated of all the quarter-final clashes.

The Reds 'fab three' as commonly referred to with the goalscoring prowess of Mohamed SalahRoberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have scored a mesmerising 75 out of Liverpool's 119 goals in all competitions. 

While the Citizens quartet of Leroy SaneRaheem SterlingSergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus have scored 76 goals in 149 games between them - illustrating how City have more goals throughout their team in comparison to the Reds statistics dominated by the front three.

However, it comes under no-surprise that Klopp's side stands the highest scorers of the competition so far with 28 goals in eight games. Their terrifying trio also contains the magnificent Egyptian Salah who has scored a remarkable 37 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions this season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

'Offensively, they're a juggernaut' - De Bruyne

There is no doubt that it's Liverpool's front three that Guardiola will be looking to subdue and Manchester City midfielder and Premier League PFA Player's Player of the Year favourite Kevin De Bruyne also recognizes the threat that Liverpool's attack opposes. 

The Belgian international praised Klopp's attack stating: "Offensively, they're (Liverpool) are a juggernaut" and De Bruyne witnessed first hand just how dangerous the Reds front three can be when all of them were on target in the Citizens 4-3 defeat at Anfield back in January.

Can Liverpool gain confidence from Anfield win?

Despite Manchester City dominating the Premier league from start to finish this season, they will be returning to the ground of their only defeat of the competition this season.

The victory on Merseyside was the first time any team in all competitions put more than two goals past Ederson all season and it reflects the fact that this Guardiola team is not unbeatable.

City have splashed out more than £225 million on defenders alone, Klopp's offensive style saw the Citizens concede four in their last outing on Merseyside and could display the area that Liverpool need to exploit if they are to go against the bookies and progress to the semi-finals of the competition. 

Salah vs. De Bruyne - the greatest individual battle

Considering it's an all-English clash between two of the countries best attacks, it comes under no surprise that the two favourites for the Leagues individual honours this season are Egyptian Salah and Belgian De Bruyne.

With the two not just battling for places in the semi-finals but player of the year honours as well, it's fair to expect Salah and De Bruyne to have a significant impact on the winner of this Champions League quarter-final.

The Belgian superstar also this week stated that he believes he would be a worthy winner of the Player of the Year award, but says it is impossible to compare his talent with Premier League top-scorer Salah.

“Well, if I get it, it would be nice I think for the team and for me. In one way I believe I deserve it, because I have been very consistent in my form,” explained De Bruyne.

“I am very happy with myself, I am very pleased with how I have played, I didn't expect to be this good this season, to be honest".

De Bruyne also acknowledged Salah credentials this season, the Egyptian taking his tally for the season to 37 with his late strike against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

“You cannot compare – it is impossible. So how do the players choose?”  De Bruyne added.

“Salah has a remarkable goalscoring run, and he plays very well like an inside forward type of role, for me. This season he has been incredible".

Team News

Wednesday's hosts have confirmed that Joel Matip is set to undergo surgery on a thigh injury and could be out for the rest of the season. While young full-back Joe Gomez is ruled out as well after sustaining an ankle injury during international duty with England.

Adam Lallana is a doubt for the match after being forced off in the game against Crystal Palace, as is German international Emre Can.

Citizens striker Sergio Aguero has also been ruled out of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with a knee injury.

The 29-year-old has missed the past five games for City and Argentina with the injury.

Guardiola has also indicated that John Stones will be assessed closer to kick-off, while Benjamin Mendy is nearing a return to full fitness but is not likely to be involved. 

Fabian Delph is another doubt and the midfielder/full-back will undergo a late fitness test. 

Potential Line-ups

Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Laporte, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Sterling, D. Silva, Sane, Jesus

Recent form (all competitions)

Liverpool: WWDLWW

Manchester City: WWLWWW

Latest Result

Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool

Everton 1-3 Manchester City

Referee

Felix Brych (Germany)