Saturday’s early kick-off sees Manchester City take on Liverpool at The Etihad as Pep Guardiola’s side look for their first home victory of the season.
City were held by Liverpool’s crosstown rivals, Everton, in 2017/18’s first Monday Night Football match and will be eager to put that stumble behind them.
Opponents don’t come much tougher than Liverpool, though, with Jürgen Klopp boasting an extraordinary record against the league’s top teams.
Since he arrived in England in October 2015, Liverpool have won 47% of their fixtures against the remainder of the top six (City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs) and have only lost one of those matches.
City will need their key players to be on top form if they are to worsen Liverpool’s record, but are currently sweating on the fitness of their captain, Vincent Kompany.
The Belgian centre-back picked up a calf injury while on international duty – his 15th in just five years – and Guardiola doesn’t think that he will be able to play this weekend.
“It will be short [his absence]. The next time he will be able to play,” he told reporters.
“I’m sad. I would like him to be fit. He made a huge effort, our physios worked a lot to take care of him, so the last seven, eight, nine games of the season he played without problem for 90 mins.
“This season we take care of him, he played three games 90 minutes.
“Now was the period of three games a week and unfortunately we lost him. We will try to recover as soon as possible.”
Sergio Agüero will be hoping to start for City, having been dropped by Guardiola for their last-gasp victory over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.
The former Atletico Madrid forward needs just one goal to become the Premier League’s leading non-European goal-scorer.
Former Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling will be unable to face his former club due to a controversial red card obtained at the Vitality Stadium, while Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool will be without Philippe Coutinho, who is lacking match fitness.
“We have to prepare him for the rest of the season and that is quite difficult with our fixtures and schedule,” Klopp told reporters.
“He agreed – he didn’t want to just play 15 minutes.”
Despite both sides missing key men, the game promises to be an entertaining affair between two clubs who typically excel going forward and struggle defensively.
Image courtesy of Man City via YouTube, with thanks.