The international break may not have come at the best time for Liverpool. The Reds are a team in better form ahead of their away tie to Manchester City, despite both teams sharing a similar record. After three matches, both clubs have won twice and drawn one.
Liverpool have been in impressive attacking form, scoring eight times – second only to the 10 goals Manchester United has registered so far. The tally included a rampaging 4-0 win against Arsenal at Anfield.
As a result, Liverpool sits in the second position in the table. But manager Jürgen Klopp will be tasked with ensuring his frontline continues in the same vein. So far, they’ve played without the services of injured attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, whose exploits from last season saw Barcelona put forward heavy bids – reaching a staggering £138 million. Liverpool would not budge though, and the Brazilian remains a scouser for now.
Instead, the trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah has been firing on all cylinders for Klopp’s team. On transfer deadline day, the speed and strength of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were added to the roster after securing a switch from Arsenal for £35 million.
After the international break though, on Saturday, Liverpool will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face a City team that would have had enough time to sort their defensive structure. Pep Guardiola’s team has so far kept just one clean sheet – in a 2-0 win against 16th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.
Their rear guard this season has been bolstered by the signings of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, and former Real Madrid defender Danilo. The trio, however, hasn’t had much time together so far, but are bound to improve as the season goes on.
Against Liverpool, the team with the second-best attack in the Premier League, Guardiola will hope his new players would have had enough time to move in cohesion. The international break may have allowed them some extra time to practice their moves.
Meanwhile, City’s attack is its strength, with Sergio Aguero leading the attack. Their highest scorer with two goals this season, Raheem Sterling, however, will miss the clash against his former club through suspension – he was sent off moments after scoring the winner against Bournemouth.
The odds will still be stacked in favour of Liverpool. In the last five occasions, the two clubs have met in the Premier League, the Reds have scored in each and have won four, finishing in a 1-1 draw the last time they met. Man City will be keen on stopping the trend, but Klopp’s side have so far set an intense tone this season.