If you looked at both teams recent records then you’d only see one winner in this clash, with Liverpool unbeaten in their last 5 home games and City failing to pick up a single victory on their last 5 away trips. But things can change so quickly in football, and with Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger joining Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio on the sidelines, the defence that looked so strong since Kenny Dalglish’s return suddenly looks depleted.
City, on the other hand, are coming off of an impressive 5-0 home win over Sunderland where it looked like manager Roberto Mancini had finally decided to let his expensive side express themselves. With City’s attackers full of confidence and Liverpool set to field a second-string defence it could be a tough night for the Reds.
Scoring on the road is much harder than at home though and Mancini will know that breaking through at Anfield will be a much tougher test than a home game against a Sunderland side in free-fall. Infact, City have scored just 3 goals in their last 5 away games with their last away win coming against Newcastle way back in December. Much will depend on the way Mancini sets his team up, with the Italian prone to caution when City go on their travels.
Sitting back against Liverpool may not be a good idea for City now that Liverpool possess the attacking talents of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, both of which are capable of breaking down the most stubborn back-lines. The Reds are unbeaten at home in the Premier League since Dalglish’s return and they will be confident of extending that record, despite injuries to key players.
Dalglish will look to take the game to City, with recent injuries meaning that the Reds best form of defence is attack. If Liverpool can get a goal or two in the first half then that should settle down the side’s makeshift defence, with City unlikely to score more than once away from home. I see Liverpool winning narrowly if they can get an early goal.