Manchester City has won the last two English Premier League titles, but last season, Liverpool FC came within a single point of matching Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut at the top of the table. Guardiola has not defeated Liverpool at Anfield in three tries since he took over at Manchester City in 2016, as The Guardian reports.
Guardiola and his club will need to take the full three points this time, however. They come into the Sunday showdown trailing the 2019 UEFA Champions League titlists by a full six points, thanks to a pair of unexpected defeats. On September 19, City lost 3-2 away to Norwich City, who now occupy the bottom of the table with only seven points in all.
Exactly one month later, Guardiola’s men stumbled again, this time at home, when they were blanked 2-0 by mid-table Wolverhampton Wanderers. Those two losses are all that separate the two teams at the top of the EPL table — with Liverpool yet to lose a game. The Reds ended a 17-game winning streak when they drew with Manchester United on October 19.
Otherwise, Manager Jurgen Klopp’s team has a flawless record. They enter Sunday’s showdown having won their last two league matches. And Manchester City’s problems at Anfield are not limited to Guardiola’s tenure. City has not won on Liverpool’s iconic ground in 16 matches, losing 11 and drawing five in that span, according to the BBC.
On the other hand, Manchester City have handed Klopp’s side their only loss in their last 50 league matches, the BBC reported. That came in January of this year, when the Citizens took a 2-1 victory at the Etihad — handing Liverpool their only defeat of the 2018-2019 season.
But City took the title on the strength of only two draws, to seven draws for Klopp’s team.
Even though a loss would leave City nine points off the pace, Guardiola insists the game is not a must-win for his team, as there are 26 matches remaining in the 2019-2020 campaign.
“I just want my team to fight to the end,” he told the BBC. “Liverpool are a team that lost one game last season, none this season, so you cannot believe that they will lose many, but the season is long.”
One major question mark for Guardiola comes in goal, however. With regular starter Ederson ruled out after suffering an injury in a mid-week Champions League match, 36-year-old Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo will see his first Premier League action in 18 months, according to The Mirror.
Bravo somehow managed to get sent off after coming on to replace Ederson in what turned out to be a Champions League 1-1 draw in Italy against Atalanta.