For the first time in 10,650 days, Liverpool will remain the champion of England when they face Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Thursday night.

In a match list quirk, their first outing as Premier League winners faces the team they usurped as kings of England, meaning Man City will give his successors an honor guard before the match.



Match preview
At times, it's been a long and arduous journey since then, a statement that could apply during the intervening 30 years as a whole or just the three-month interruption of the coronavirus that at one stage threatened to deprive them of a delay in their perch.

Whether it was worth the wait is a matter of personal opinion, but Jurgen Klopp and his class of 2019-20 have made sure they did it in style, finishing the title two games before any other team in the history of the top flight. English. managed before.

Of course, they owe some thanks to Thursday's opponents for that: it was Man City's 2-1 loss at Chelsea last Thursday that officially secured the title for Liverpool with seven games of the season remaining as the previous champions 23 points were adrift with only 21 Now there are points to play.

The result was the eighth defeat of the season in the city league, a total record for Pep Guardiola in his managerial career, and his fall in the form of the last two seasons, when they accumulated 198 combined points, has been one of the main reasons why Liverpool's win has been so emphatic. However, that should not take anything away from Liverpool's achievements; They carved their way to success with unrelenting relentlessness never seen before in England or in any of Europe's top five leagues.

Even the 2017-18 Man City centurions, statistically the best team in England's history, would be five points off Klopp's side at this stage of the season, and the Reds are on track to break or equal almost all records. Guardiola's team. in that remarkable campaign.

Of course, that depends on Liverpool not giving in in the final stages of the season, but Klopp has already warned the rest of the league that his team will not stop despite having secured the only trophy they have left.
Man City will not stop either; Guardiola has suggested that he will prioritize other competitions, which is understandable given that his league ambitions have ended and his final position could be irrelevant due to his European ban, while they could still end the campaign with an EFL Cup, FA Cup and League. of Champions. triple.

However, the Spaniard is not the type of manager who will accept a loss in the meantime, as evidenced by that incredible 198-point run in the previous two seasons.
Players themselves will take it as a personal affront, as they also have to give an honor guard; It is something they will gladly do as they have received more applause than anyone in recent years, but it is not something they particularly enjoy.

The honor guard will add an additional incentive for Man City to inflict a rare defeat on its usurpers, as well as a desire to prevent them from moving one step closer to breaking their record for most points and most wins in a single campaign.

While the desire to do it will be there, the ability to do it may not: Liverpool have lost points in just three Premier League games throughout the season and have delivered just two points from 10 games against the top seven, including six Six wins against the current top five.

By contrast, seven of Man City's eight losses this season have been in his 11 games against teams currently in the top seven, with just three wins.

Interestingly, Man City also only scored first in two of its nine league games against the current top six, compared to Liverpool's far superior record of breaking the deadlock in seven of its eight games.

However, there are reasons for Man City's optimism in Liverpool's absent form; The Reds have been spotless at Anfield this period, but they come into Thursday's game winless and goalless in their last four away games in all competitions, a run that runs through February 15.

Liverpool have never gone five away games without a win under Klopp, but they face a Man City team that won six and lost none of their last seven league games in the Etihad, including the eight-goal goal. unanswered in both games. since closing.

Thursday's game will undoubtedly evoke memories of Liverpool's last visit to Etihad, when Leroy Sane scored the winner and John Stones hooked the ball with 11.7 mm to go.

In fact, Man City naturally provides a good barometer of Liverpool's progress in recent years; The Reds finished 25 points behind Guardiola's team in 2017-18, were one point, or less than 12 mm, from the title last season and now enjoy a 23-point lead, a remarkable 48-point swing against one of the best English football teams. have you ever seen

Man City will certainly bounce back, and Thursday's game gives them an immediate opportunity to show Liverpool that things will be different next season, but for the Reds it will be an occasion for celebration and an opportunity to underscore their dominance in this period. .

Man City Premier League Form: WWLWWL
Man City form (all competitions): WLWWLW

Liverpool Premier League form: WWLWDW
Liverpool form (all competitions): LLWLDW

Team news
Guardiola has hinted that he will prioritize cup competitions in the future, and named a strong team during Sunday's FA Cup win over Newcastle United.

Characters like Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez started, which means they are also candidates to rest in the next game.

Ederson, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden are among the players waiting to be removed from the starting lineup, but City still misses suspended Fernandinho and injured Sergio Agüero.

Eric Garcia remains hesitant with a head injury, although the period required to recover from a concussion has passed and therefore could be in dispute.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will be without Joel Matip for the remainder of the season due to a foot injury he suffered in the Merseyside derby.

James Milner also detected a hamstring problem in that match and remains a big doubt for this game, but Xherdan Shaqiri has now returned to training.

The Reds are unlikely to touch the changes despite winning the title and could even name an unchanged team for which they defeated Crystal Palace the last time.

Mohamed Salah has scored just two away goals throughout the season, but his drought has been covered by Roberto Firmino, who scored six goals in seven away games against top-half teams in 2019-20.

Possible lineup for Man City:
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, Foden; Bernard, Jesus, Sterling

Possible starting lineup for Liverpool:
Alisson Alexander-Arnold, Gómez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Head to head
Surprisingly, Man City only won two of the last 10 Premier League meetings between these two sides, while Liverpool also inflicted two defeats on them in the Champions League during that time.

The Reds have been something of a phantom team for City, but have not won at Etihad in the league since Klopp's first visit in 2015, when they ran out of 4-1 winners.

The reverse match at Anfield this season saw Liverpool run with a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes before sealing a 3-1 win that extended Man City's winless run in Liverpool to 17 games.

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