Jurgen Klopp Vs Pep Guardiola: Key Questions Facing Liverpool And Man City Bosses
Reigning Premier League champions Liverpool renew their rivalry with Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
Having pipped Pep Guardiola’s side to the English top-flight crown last season, the Reds find themselves top of the table as they bid to retain their title.
But they’ll come up against a motivated City side at the Etihad, with Guardiola undoubtedly keen to get one over his managerial rival Jurgen Klopp.
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Not only are City and Liverpool regarded as two of the best teams in the world, but in Klopp and Guardiola, the two clubs boast arguably the finest managers of their generation.
However both have had to overcome several setbacks in the early period of this 2020/21 season.
So, ahead of the mouthwatering showdown, Mirror Sport looks at five key questions facing the two managers…
1. Klopp to stand Firm with Firmino or use Jota?
The two best sides in the league for the past three years do battle at Anfield – but Klopp faces somewhat of a selection headache.
A win for the Reds would see them move eight points clear of the visitors at such an early stage of the campaign.
The main question mark over team selection is if Klopp sticks with his famed front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino – or whether the latter, with just one goal all season, is replaced by in-form Diogo Jota, who has scored six in his last four matches
2. Can City survive without Aguero?
Sergio Aguero will not return for City’s clash with champions Liverpool.
City’s record goalscorer, who has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, had been given an outside chance of returning against the leaders.
That has now been ruled out, with the 32-year-old instead aiming to make his comeback against Tottenham after the international break.
Aguero’s injury had left City without a specialist centre forward but Gabriel Jesus made a goalscoring return to action as a substitute against Olympiacos in the Champions League in midweek.
The Brazilian is now likely to be involved against the Merseysiders and will no doubt want to prove his worth.
3. Will Matip solve Liverpool’s defensive crisis?
Liverpool boss Klopp will be hoping that Joel Matip is back from injury to add his experience to a central defence without the injured Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds’ title defensive a huge blow when Van Dijk, arguably Liverpool’s best player, suffered a long-term injury during the feisty Merseyside derby with Everton.
Matip also suffered an injury in that game, ultimately forcing Klopp to play midfielder Fabinho alongside Joe Gomez as his defensive partnership.
But Matip returned to the squad for Liverpool’s midweek Champions League thrashing of Atalanta and is in contention to start Sunday’s clash with City.
4. How motivated is Guardiola to win the title?
Having won the title twice as City manager, it’s no secret that Guardiola’s priority is to finally clinch a Champions League triumph at the Etihad.
City’s title bid has got off to an underwhelming start too, winning just three of their opening six games of the season.
And Guardiola was reluctant to discuss his side’s title chances during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
The boss even made a topical reference when asked about the importance of the game.
Whatever the outcome, the City boss believes it is too early in the season to draw conclusions from the result.
He said: “It is an important game but, like the presidential elections in the USA, all the votes must be counted – there are a lot of points to play for.”
5. Can Liverpool end their Etihad woes?
While Liverpool can boast recent bragging rights over City in terms of title wins, they’ve not had much success in their last three league games at the Etihad.
In fact, City have won all of their last three Premier League games between the two teams on home turf.