A blockbuster Premier League clash takes place at Anfield on Sunday, as Liverpool lock horns with current holders Manchester City.
The two powerhouses currently occupy first and second in the Premier League table after six matches, with Jurgen Klopp’s side one point above their title rivals at the summit.
Klopp was keen to stress that Liverpool’s previous thrashings of Porto at the Estadio do Dragao would count for nothing ahead of their Champions League tie, but the Reds still managed to replicate their past performances with a 5-1 drubbing of Sergio Conceicao’s men on Tuesday.
The famed old guard of Mohamed Salah Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane propelled their side to a dominant European success after their previous thrilling victory over AC Milan, but the Reds were frustrated by an inspired Brentford outfit in their most recent Premier League encounter.
Seeking to make the Brentford Community Stadium a fortress, Thomas Frank’s side twice came back from a goal down to rescue a point against Klopp’s side in front of their own fans, with Yoane Wissa netting the all-important sixth goal of the game in the 82nd minute of that 3-3 draw.
However, that point was enough to see Liverpool rise to the top of the rankings after their upcoming opponents did them a favour against Chelsea and Manchester United lost to Aston Villa, while their tally of 15 goals scored is also the highest in the division.
Klopp’s side are also unbeaten in 10 competitive fixtures at Anfield and have scored at least three goals in each of their last six games since last month’s 3-0 win over Leeds United, but Pep Guardiola’s defence is already proving near-impenetrable in the league this term.
Seeking to navigate their first true test of the season with flying colours, Man City travelled to Stamford Bridge on the back of a disappointing goalless stalemate with Southampton, but Guardiola’s men produced the goods when it mattered most.
Having kept the Chelsea attack at bay, Joao Cancelo’s attempt found its way into the path of Gabriel Jesus with 53 minutes gone, and the Brazilian’s effort went through a sea of bodies before trickling into the back of the net for a potentially pivotal 1-0 win.
However, Guardiola’s midweek reunion with Lionel Messi was not as much of a joyous affair, as the Argentine struck his first goal for Paris Saint-Germain in some style after Idrissa Gueye’s thunderous finish in a 2-0 Champions League win – already City’s second away defeat of the season.
In spite of their European disappointment, City can certainly take solace in the fact that they have now gone five Premier League games without conceding since their opening-day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, with only one goal shipped representing the best record in the division so far.
There have been many tasty ties at Anfield down the years between these two clubs – with City marching to a 4-1 success in the 2020-21 season and Liverpool can only boast one win from their last seven against Guardiola’s side in all competitions, although that did come on Merseyside 3-1 in their triumphant 2019-20 season.
Meanwhile, fresh from Wednesday’s last-gasp win over Villarreal in the Champions League, Manchester United will resume their Premier League campaign at home to Everton this afternoon.
Man United are currently fourth in the table, one point behind leaders Liverpool, while Rafael Benitez’s Everton occupy fifth, level on points with their opponents at Old Trafford this weekend.
There was certainly pressure on Man United to pick up a positive result against Villarreal in the Champions League, but it appeared that the Red Devils would be in for another frustrating night, with their classy Spanish opponents enjoying themselves for long periods in Manchester.
Paco Alcacer’s 53rd-minute finish sent the Yellow Submarine ahead, but a wonderful volley from Alex Telles levelled the scores on the hour before Cristiano Ronaldo came up with a 95th-minute winner to spark incredible celebrations inside the stadium; the victory was crucial for Man United in terms of their Group F campaign, but it was also a key result for head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
All things considered, it has been a positive start to the 2021-22 Premier League season for the Red Devils, with a return of 13 points from six matches leaving them fourth, only one point behind leaders Liverpool, but the 20-time English champions suffered a 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa last weekend and Solskjaer’s team will be desperate to put three more points on the board ahead of the international break.
Man United have an incredibly tough October and November in terms of the strength of their opposition, and a win over Everton today would boost confidence ahead of the difficult period, but a defeat would again lead to questions surrounding Solskjaer’s future at the club.
Everton were well beaten by Man United in a pre-season clash at Old Trafford on August 7, and the four-goal loss in Manchester certainly left a number of the club’s supporters fearing what could happen this term.
Benitez’s appointment as head coach remains incredibly controversial, but the Spaniard has delivered some excellent results this season, with the Toffees boasting an identical record to Man City, Chelsea, Man United and Brighton – winning four, drawing one and losing one of their opening six Premier League outings.
Everton suffered a 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa on September 18 before losing on penalties to Queens Park Rangers in the EFL Cup three days later, but the Merseyside giants returned to winning ways last time out, recording a 2-0 victory over struggling Norwich City at Goodison Park and another win this weekend would lead the team nicely into back-to-back home fixtures against West Ham United and Watford after the international break.
The Blues have not won at Old Trafford in any competition since December 2013, but three of the last five Premier League meetings between the two sides have finished level, while Man United have not beaten the Toffees at home in England’s top flight since October 2018.