The year 2018 has been a great one for these two sides, and Liverpool certainly have more reasons to be optimistic as they have one hand and a couple of toes on their first league title since 1990. The upcoming match against Manchester City, the only team who seem to have enough in their tank to overcome this Pool juggernaut, could perhaps be the most important one not only for the Merseysiders, but also for the English Premier League as a whole.
Jurgen Klopp’s men currently have 54 points from 20 games, while Pep Guardiola’s charges have mustered seven lesser in the same number of games. The former can afford a loss here, for they will still boast a four-point lead in that scenario, but the holders just cannot afford to suffer a loss that could more or less end their title chances, that too on home turf. What can be seen as a positive is that City have lost their first game of the calendar year just once over the last 12 years (to Sunderland in 2012). They must also be feeling quietly confident after bouncing back from two straight losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester City they with a morale-boosting win at Southampton in their last game.
Guardiola has also had to deal with a number of injuries to key players over the last few months, but that too is easing out as most will of them are almost back to full fitness. The former Barcelona and Bayern manager also cannot afford to go in with the same pragmatic approach that saw him return with a goalless draw from the return fixture at Anfield in October, and even a draw will look like a loss in the larger scheme of things. Klopp and Liverpool, meanwhile, will be more than happy with even a draw, for it will maintain their unbeaten run, while a win would surely render then uncatchable and ensure a bigger lead of nine points (over Tottenham).