Two of the Premier League’s top sides will match up on Sunday as sixth-place Liverpool host second-place Manchester City at Anfield in a league match. City won the first matchup of the season, beating Liverpool 3-1 at home early in the campaign.
Liverpool come into the match fresh off a penalty shootout defeat to Besiktas that knocked Brendan Rodgers' squad out of Europa League. Rodgers admitted that the over-worked Reds, having played in Europa League and Champions League, might have a blessing in disguise in being eliminated from both international competitions. The match with City will come with less than three days of rest, but soon there will be a break from the tiring schedule.
"We want to be in those competitions and the Champions League consistently for the next number of years but there is no doubt with that out of the way, and after next week's game against Burnley we will go to nearly one game a week, which probably for the first time this season will give us [the] chance to prepare every aspect," Rodgers said to reporters.
The Reds had been in good form before the Europa loss and had gone seven matches without a defeat across all competitions. Liverpool do have a Premier League streak still intact. They come into the matchup with City at Anfield having gone nine matches without a league defeat.
City are in decent form as well, and are desperately trying to catch up to league-leaders Chelsea. The Sky Blues lost 2-1 to Barcelona in a Champions League match in their latest fixture. They won their last two Premier League matches, however, and go into the Liverpool fixture just five points behind Chelsea.
City striker Sergio Aguero has become increasingly dangerous as the year has progressed. Aguero is now tied atop the Premier League for top scorer with Chelsea’s Diego Costa at 17 league goals. Liverpool do not have the same firepower with attacker Raheem Sterling and midfielder Steven Gerrard leading their squad with six league goals apiece.
Manuel Pellegrini’s City side may look to overpower the Reds with sheer attacking force. His side is known for its extreme depth and Liverpool must be run ragged after their long match against Besiktas. Manchester City, however, haven’t won at Anfield in their last 11 trips to the stadium.
"Always Liverpool are a strong team with a difficult stadium, but I also think all those statistics - you must change it,” Pellegrini said to reporters. "This year we won at Stoke, and in the last six years we never did that."
The two sides will certainly be heavily invested in the very important league matchup. City are trying to claw to the top of the table while Liverpool are trying to make their way back to the Champions League.
Kickoff Time: 7 a.m. ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream Info: NBC Live Extra
Prediction: The two sides will be evenly matched in a close affair. Liverpool 2 - 2 Manchester City.