Those headphones. Wowzers, they are bold.
Dejan Lovren’s return to the Liverpool team has been welcomed by many. “As a Liverpool fan, I was feeling nervous about this game,” writes Tim Woods. “Much less so now I see one of the world’s greatest defenders is back among the ranks.” Here’s a dramatic photograph of his Anfield arrival:
The last time Manchester City played at Anfield in the league, the home side won 4-3. It wasn’t their first such victory, mind, and even if Jonathan Wilson’s tactical analysis is spot on today won’t be the first time full-backs will prove crucial. Here’s our report of the match played at Liverpool on 21 November 1931. Note the Mourinho-appropriate description of “bad play and bad tempers at Old Trafford” at the bottom (United had lost 2-1 at home to Bury in the Second Division):
The Manchester City team bus has arrived at Anfield, apparently unmolested.
So the teams are largely as expected. Naby Keita is fit only for the Liverpool bench, while Joe Gomez is preferred to Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, meaning that Dejan Lovren makes his first league start of the season in the centre. Benjamin Mendy returns to City’s line-up, while Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne, who Pep Guardiola suggested might be involved, are not involved.
The team sheets are in, and these are the names upon them:
Liverpool: Alisson, Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Henderson, Mane, Salah, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Fabinho, Keita, Sturridge, Shaqiri, Matip, Alexander-Arnold.
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, Silva, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero. Subs: Muric, Danilo, Kompany, Sané, Otamendi, Jesus, Foden.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Well this is exciting, isn’t it? First against second in this morning’s league table, the league’s best two defences and England’s finest attack come face to face at Anfield. I could go on, but I’ve got a veritable travelling library of pre-match reading for you to get stuck into and this is a game that probably doesn’t require any further previewage, so instead wrap your chops around Jonathan Wilson’s tactical summary:
And then move onto Andy Hunter and Jamie Jackson’s man-by-man squad-scoring thingamajig:
Before tucking into Paul Wilson’s preview:
And then hold on to your hats and brace yourselves for a whole lot of fun!