Saturday, November 21, 2009

Preview: Liverpool vs Man City

We’ve been saying nearly every week that whoever the Reds are playing it is a ‘must win’ game and the visit of City to Anfield is as big as any game Liverpool have faced this season. Mark Hughes’ side are one point and one place above Liverpool and a win over the blue half of Manchester would go along way to restoring some faith in Rafael Benitez and his Liverpool squad.
The massive bonus for Benitez is the fact that Steven Gerrard has ruled himself fit for the fixture with City. This is what the Liverpool captain has had to say: "I've had a problem in my groin that has taken a while to get over but I'm just relieved the second injection seems to have done the trick.

"It's a case of so far so good and the aim now is to make sure I get a good week's training under my belt so I'm ready for the game with City."

Great news about Gerrard, but striker Fernando Torres will play no part as he struggles with an abdominal strain. Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera are also ruled out while Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio are all doubtful ahead of City’s visit. It remains to be seen whether we’ll get to see Alberto Aquilani or not but with Gerrard back in the fold this is certainly a winnable game for Liverpool.

City will be without winger Martin Petrov, while Robinho and Gareth Barry are also listed as doubtful but they have plenty of players to cover and expect a strong line-up. At a guess I would say City will probably line up with Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Teve and Craig Bellamy in attack – a formidable line up to say the least. However, Tevez has never been the most prolific striker in front of goal, Adebayor has suffered a dip in form since his antics against Arsenal and Bellamy can be a bit hit and miss.

The game has all the makings of a classic. Liverpool need to win to keep up with the chasing pack at the top of the table, while City have something to prove against the bigger clubs after all their summer spending. I’m not going to hazard a guess at the result as on paper it is a bit close to call, I do think we’re in for a great game though and with home advantage Liverpool should be the favourites.

Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting horse racing Ireland and the Aintree Grand National 2010 for Betfair.