Manchester City Vs Liverpool: Van Dijk’s Rebirth, Haaland’s Availability As Guardiola Meets Klopp

kimbiblogstaff  - Blogger
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Save for last season, Manchester City vs Liverpool has been the go-to fixture of the last couple of seasons. It has been dubbed the modern-day Premier League rivalry, with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp always within touching distance of the trophy.

So intense has the rivalry been in recent seasons that 97 points couldn’t win Liverpool the title in 2019. It is a game that promises to offer so much this season, with the teams only separated by a point 12 games in.

The first edition of this epic clash will come when Liverpool travels to Manchester for the first game of this weekend’s round of action. It will be a chance for Klopp to test his side’s upturn in form as Guardiola looks to maintain the positive start that has seen him take the lead early on.

Kimbiblog Sports runs through this clash that promises to be one of huge proportions and looks at where the game might be won and lost.


1. Is Virgil Van Dijk really back?

The colossus. Not many will argue that the Dutchman has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League since he moved to Merseyside. But after a lull in form last season, Van Dijk is seemingly back to his best this campaign.

No player has yet to dribble past him with his tenacity at the club, helping Liverpool concede the least amount of goals this campaign. As Kimbiblog Sports reported, he has been ranked as the best defender in the league for the 2023/2024 season.

Can City’s attack get past him?

2. Erling Haaland’s availability

Talking of Manchester City’s attack, will Erling Haaland be available? The striker limped off with an ankle injury while on international duty.

He has reportedly been spotted in training, but it remains to be seen if he will be fit in time to lead Guardiola’s line at the Etihad. The 22-year-old offers a lot of potency upfront, even with his minimal touches. And when coming up against a ‘mean’ Van Dijk, Guardiola will need his best man available.

3. Liverpool’s ‘non-existent’ defensive midfield

To be fair to Klopp, he has somehow found a way to keep going despite a recognised and proven defensive midfielder. Alexis Mac Allister has been slotting into the position, but the Argentine is better suited going forward.

It would be interesting to see how Klopp answers his latest puzzle, given that it will be a different ballgame against the best midfield partnerships in the division. Rodri can nullify the opposition, initiate attacks and chip in with goals on his own.

Whether Mac Allister can keep up with the high tempo will be the million-dollar question, as Klopp is highly unlikely to start Wataru Endo.

4. Jeremy Doku vs Trent Alexander-Arnold

Much has been said about TAA’s deficiencies as a fullback despite his immense attacking output. After being silenced by Reece James last time out, Jeremy Doku will be relishing the opportunity to make things right.

Jack Grealish was immense in this fixture last season, but based on Guardiola’s selections so far, Doku might be given another chance to add to his six-goal involvement tally in his debut campaign.

His pace and wizardry will undoubtedly pose a problem for TAA, who likes to venture forward and help in attack.

5. Josko Gvardiol vs Mohamed Salah

If we are going to talk about the battle on one end, then it is only fair to talk about the looming fight on the other end.

Gvardiol hasn’t had an ‘over-the-roof’ start in Manchester but has done all the right things to make Guardiola keep selecting him.

He was found wanting a couple of times in the Stamford Bridge thriller before the break, but as Guardiola will probably remind him, he can’t afford to make such mistakes against Mohamed Salah.

Salah has found his groove early on, with only Haaland outscoring the Egyptian. The 31-year-old will want to run at the Croatian the whole afternoon in a bid to guide his side to a first win at the Etihad since 2017.

Either way, you look at it, the November 25 clash is set to be a blockbuster. Is your popcorn ready?

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