Liverpool v Manchester City: Combined XI based on form and fitness


On Sunday he will be returning to Anfield.

Ahead of the crunch showdown Sportsmail assesses the nuances of the two sides and where this clash of the titans could be won and lost.

City come into the game still unbeaten in the league this season, and heavily linked with a move for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez.

After a debut campaign of acclimatisation to English football, Guardiola has his side finely tuned and all singing beautifully from the same hymn sheet.

Of the England international's recovery from a muscle problem, Klopp added: "He's back in training and on the way to being back [available] again". "Here are now more strong teams, a lot of competitions, a lot of games". They're the only side who have managed to come close to City's tally, matching them with 16 over the last six games.

City have not won away to Liverpool since May 2003 and they will look to finally end that terrible run when the two sides go head-to-head on Sunday. The Reds are 4-1-0 in their last five overall and are 3-2-0 in their last five home games. Forest 1978 were defeated by a Liverpool they had just beaten to the title and knocked out of the European Cup, but who would reclaim the league later that season. The Dutchman, just signed from Southampton for £75 million, had a dream debut, scoring the victor in the Merseyside derby last weekend.

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In front of the custodian, we could see the partnership of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Will the 26-year-old be able to put in another top shift against Manchester City's explosive offensive threat? But still they need time to adapt to the intensity of a football game.

"It was a special day and one I remember really well", he said. The Dutchman must be at his £75million best.

Facing City now will be hard, as it is expected that Liverpool will reinvest a large portion of the £142million fee in filling the void in central midfield.

That will enrage players into wanting to prove a point, and there are few managers better at enhancing the effects of that than Klopp.

All this speculation is a waste of time, of course, if City fall at Anfield. Slightly better side, slightly better chances.

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The mercurial Egyptian is facing a race for fitness ahead of this contest, and his presence for the Reds can not be understated.

The Reds are on an unbeaten run of their own, avoiding defeat in their last 17 games, and sit in fourth.

After being fashioned into a full-back following the injury to Benjamin Mendy, Delph has stepped up to the plate. According to Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, the former Southampton defender guarantees Liverpool's place in the top four this season.

Under Guardiola Sterling has been a revelation.

Chelsea has totally dominated this head-to-head series in recent years with a 12-1-1 record in its last 14 games against Leicester.

If there's a club that can match City's attacking firepower, it's Liverpool, even without Philippe Coutinho.

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"Oxlade-Chamberlain is there, Lallana is back, but obviously you are going to miss Coutinho". Questions remain about his suitability for this Liverpool team.