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The Reds will raise their game for the visit of the champions, and we reckon attacks will get the better of defenses.
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Jurgen Klopp could not have been clearer. “We’re not in the race,” he replied bluntly when asked about his team’s Premier League title chances following their 3-2 defeat by Arsenal last weekend.
Given that the Reds are already 14 points adrift of top spot, Klopp is almost certainly right. That is a hugely disappointing position for Liverpool to be in before we have even reached the pause for the 2022 World Cup in November.
Klopp’s side pushed Manchester City all the way last term. In the end they were edged out by a point. Liverpool also came up just short in the Champions League, going down 1-0 to Real Madrid in the final. They may have won the FA Cup and the EFL Cup in 2021/22, but it was hard to shake the feeling of ‘what might have been’.
Any silverware would be an achievement from the position the club finds itself in right now. Liverpool have endured a poor start to the campaign, failing to win six of their first eight Premier League games. They sit below Bournemouth and Fulham in the table (albeit having played one fewer match). The top four may now be the best Liverpool can hope for this term.
The most alarming thing for the Reds is that they do not look like themselves. They were beaten last Sunday by an Arsenal team that played with the sort of energy and intensity that once characterized Klopp’s side.
Liverpool have often looked leggy and one-paced this season. Several key players, including Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, are out of form.
There is no question of Klopp being sacked, but there is an argument that this team has reached the end of the road. A major rebuild may be needed next summer. Before then, Liverpool must ensure they at least qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal may be top of the table heading into the weekend, but the best online sportsbooks still have Manchester City down as strong title favorites.
That is in part because of doubts over Mikel Arteta’s men, who have played superbly so far this term but have yet to prove that they have what it takes to maintain this sort of level over the course of a 38-game season.
Indeed, City would not be quite so heavily fancied if it was Liverpool that sat at the summit of the standings in the middle of October.
As it is, the team that has pushed them all the way in recent seasons has dropped off, potentially giving Pep Guardiola’s side a free run at the championship. You do not have to look too hard to find pundits who believe City will triumph by 10 points or more.
The champions have the joint-best defensive record in the division to date, while they have scored considerably more goals than any other team: 33 versus the 23 of next-best Arsenal. Erling Haaland is on course to be the Premier League top scorer by some distance. Kevin De Bruyne is the division’s best all-rounder.
City have not been perfect, with dropped points against Newcastle United and Aston Villa. But this is a side that knows what it takes to win titles. Another is probably on its way to the Etihad Stadium trophy cabinet.
Liverpool fans will hope that the visit of Manchester City, a club with which they have established a rivalry in recent years, inspires their players to raise their game on Sunday. The Reds have been poor in big matches away from home against Manchester United, Napoli and Arsenal this season, but Anfield is still a tough place for opponents to go.
Meetings between these two sides have invariably been worth watching in the era of Guardiola and Klopp, and this one should be no different. Only one of the last eight head-to-head clashes in all competitions has featured under 3.5 goals, and each of the last three games at Anfield have seen four goals or more scored.
That is why we are backing over 3.5 goals on Sunday. City alone are averaging 3.66 per game in the Premier League, while Liverpool still managed to find the back of the net twice even in a subpar showing against Arsenal last time out. One thing is for sure: this is an encounter you will not want to miss.
|Teams||Liverpool vs Manchester City|
|Location||Anfield, Liverpool, England|
|Time||Sunday, 16 October 2022, 11.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||USA Network|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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