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Firmino vs Kompany: Three key battles for Liverpool vs Manchester City

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool

Liverpool face Manchester City on Sunday in a top of the table clash. The Reds have had a tough schedule for the past month or so with trips to Napoli, Tottenham and Chelsea. Liverpool have come out relatively unscathed with just the loss against the Italians.

That game saw us struggling to assert ourselves in the tie and Napoli should have won by more than the one-goal margin.

Liverpool seemed likely to pick up a hard-fought point but Lorenzo Insigne consigned us to our second defeat of the season.

City are tied at the top of the table with the Reds and are only ahead because of goal difference. Pep Guardiola’s men should be wary of our threat based on our performances from last season.

Liverpool Firmino

We beat the Cityzens thrice with some electric performances and we need to tap into that o dent their hopes of keeping their Premier League crown.

Liverpool and City will feature a number of stars all across the park. City have a fantastic attack but so do we.

The Cityzens have a midfield that can be devastating on their day and we have to be wary of not losing this clash.

The game will be an incredible clash and here are three battles that could be key to getting the points.

Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Leroy Sane

The English defender was taken apart by Napoli in the last game and should be wary of Leroy Sane.

The German attacker will certainly be looking to exploit not only Alexander-Arnold but Joe Gomez too, with his pace and trickery.

Our English pair has to be careful while dealing with the 22-year-old. Sane has the ability to be a game changer for the Cityzens and we have to ensure he doesn’t start brightly at Anfield on Sunday.

Roberto Firmino vs Vincent Kompany

Our Brazilian last scored in the 3-2 win over PSG but will be crucial against City.

Firmino must relentlessly try to create space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Meanwhile, Vincent Kompany will be tasked with keeping the defence in shape.

The Belgian defender will have his work cut out as we have a couple of other attacking threats as well. However, it will be an intriguing battle between the Brazilian and Kompany.

The Manchester City defender is not as quick as he was a few years ago and Firmino’s pace could be important for us to score past the Cityzens.

Virgil van Dijk vs Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero is the leading scorer for the away side and has a penchant for scoring goals against us, with six to his name in the Premier League.

The Argentine is one of the best strikers in the world and in a team filled with attacking threats, Liverpool have to be careful when dealing with the forward.

Virgil van Dijk has turned things around for the Reds at the back and the Dutch defender should be at his smartest to keep Aguero out.

Read more: “My fault for sure” – Liverpool boss accepts blame for poor performance against Napoli

The centre-back isn’t the fastest in the world but he is one of the smartest players we have. Expect a real tussle as Van Dijk tries to stop the striker from being a nuisance at Anfield.

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Liverpool have the last laugh at Napoli manager and star after nasty comments

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Napoli were silenced at the end of an eventful and heart-stopping Champions League tie against Liverpool.

The Reds beat their Italian rivals to march into the next round of the competition, and Alisson had the last laugh as he blocked Arkadiusz Milik’s stoppage-time effort.

All Napoli needed to do was avoid defeat, or lose by a one-goal margin after scoring at Anfield. However, some comments made by the manager and a star player will surely haunt them.

Carlo Ancelotti was the Chelsea manager earlier in his career and knows all about Liverpool, and the Mirror shared some of his quotes regarding this fixture from a month back.

The Italian was speaking after their win over Red Star on matchday five and was confident of making it through (h/t Mirror):

“We have been a real surprise in this group and I think those same people would be even more surprised if we manage to go through the next stage.

“If we don’t qualify instead we can call ourselves… a***holes.

“At this stage of the competition I truly believe that if we don’t qualify we should call ourselves a***holes.”

Mohamed Salah scores for Liverpool

Dries Mertens was another that seemed to speak a lot but now has to eat humble pie. The Belgian dared to speak out about the “This is Anfield” sign during an interview with the Times (h/t Mirror):

“My strongest memory is that they have a sign saying ‘This is Anfield’ and everyone was talking about it, so I was thinking it’s very big, you know,”

“I came through the tunnel and I asked, ‘Where is the thing?’ and they said you missed it and I hadn’t noticed it.

“So in the second half, I’m looking at this small thing and asking, ‘is this so special?'”

Read more: “It is painful” – Jurgen Klopp provides injury update after 1-0 Napoli win

The last thing anyone needs to do is rile up Liverpool in a European game. Napoli, hopefully, have learnt their lesson now.

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Liverpool interested in 18-year-old Championship starlet from Leeds United

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Jack Clarke

Leeds United’s Jack Clarke is on the radar of Liverpool, according to Plymouth Live. The 18-year-old has made six appearances for Leeds this season in the Championship and has one assist to his name.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side are doing very well in the Championship and sit second in the table as they look to gain promotion.

The forward has attracted the attention of several Premier League clubs as the report adds that Chelsea, Everton and Manchester City are keeping tabs on the Englishman.

The report claims that Clarke signed his first professional contract when he turned 17 and is valid until 2021, hence the player will not come on the cheap.

Liverpool invested heavily in the summer window with four first-team players coming, and it will be interesting to keep an eye on our activity in January.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has worked wonders with some of the youngsters at Liverpool, and Clarke’s development could be better under our youth team coaches.

It would be unlikely for Clarke to slot straight into our first-team as the Reds have a lot of competition in the midfield and attack.

Read more: “Wasted ~100 seconds. He’s living in 2030” – Some Liverpool fans react hilariously to forward’s struggles against Napoli

The Reds lead the Premier League after 16 games, and with the right investment in the side, we could make it a real title race against Manchester City.

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Liverpool could face some tough sides in knockout round of the Champions League – but here is why they can beat them all

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Alisson saves from Arkadiusz Milik

Alisson saves brilliantly for Liverpool

Liverpool did it the hard way, but they did it. The Merseyside club made it into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Napoli, and there were some heart-stopping moments along the way.

From Sadio Mane’s misses to Alisson’s big save in stoppage, this match certainly lived up to its billing and Anfield was a bundle of energy pushing the Reds towards victory.

In all honesty, Liverpool should have won this game by a comfortable margin, but things are never easy for us.

Our poor away form saw us lose all three group games not held at Anfield, and this played a huge role in us finishing second in the group behind PSG.

Last season, we topped the group and we got a decent tie in the first knockout game with a trip to Porto. Of course, the Estadio do Dragao is a difficult place to visit but we won the first-leg 5-0.

Expecting something similar seems a bit of a stretch, given who all we could face in the first knockout round.

Tough tie awaits Liverpool

Finishing second means we will face one of the other group winners in this season’s competition. We can’t face a Premier League side as UEFA rules prohibit same country teams meeting in the first knockout round, and our possible opponents could be:

Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich/Ajax, Lyon, Real Madrid/Roma, Juventus.

That makes for some tough games, and if things work in our favour we could be drawn against a Porto or Ajax, but that’s wishful thinking.

There is another issue we have to keep in mind with Virgil van Dijk missing the first leg of the knockout round due to his yellow card against Napoli.

Liverpool have been excellent in the Premier League but their performances in Europe haven’t been outstanding this season.

However, to progress, they need to get some things right.

Liverpool need to tweak things to get the best out of the side

Jurgen Klopp has tweaked a lot with his formation this season, and it has worked more often than not. Shifting from the crazy heavy metal 4-3-3 last season, the German has deployed a safer 4-2-3-1 with Mohamed Salah leading the line and Roberto Firmino playing behind the Egyptian.

This pragmatic approach makes it difficult for teams to break us down but our attack isn’t as fluid as it was last season.

The Reds struggled with their 4-3-3 in Europe this season, and some of our worst displays actually came with this formation in use.

James Milner Liverpool

Looking at the opposition, only the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona should scare the Reds. We have a decent record against Borussia Dortmund with that magical night in the Europa League a couple of years ago.

Further, Bayern Munich aren’t the dominant force they were under Pep Guardiola and have already lost three Bundesliga games this season.

The Reds should keep playing their 4-2-3-1 formation and possibly field Naby Keita in behind Roberto Firmino.

The Guinea midfielder has the guile and ability to run past defences with his dribbling, while Firmino can stretch any defence with his movement.

Shifting Salah out wide to the right might be a risk after his exploits down the middle, but this makes us play similar to what we did last season.

The Egyptian was brilliant down the right against Napoli and he seems to be hitting form at the right moment.

Mohamed Salah Virgil van Dijk Liverpool

The trio of attackers need to find their verve, and fortunately, we seem to be heading on the right track if the last few games are taken into consideration.

The midfield is where we should see more change with Fabinho starting more games in Europe alongside Jordan Henderson.

The Brazilian is a shield to our defence but is capable of threading the needle too. The pair of Fabinho and Keita have been picking up in recent games, and their partnership will be crucial in our Champions League run.

Naby Keita of Liverpool

We have toned down the Gegenpressing in the first half of the season, but that surely has to change once we face some of the tougher sides.

The defence and our goalkeeper are possibly the best in England, and one of the best in Europe, so we aren’t worried about that.

The Reds are in great touch now, and qualifying for the knockout round will have given us more confidence.

Read more: “Wasted ~100 seconds. He’s living in 2030” – Some Liverpool fans react hilariously to forward’s struggles against Napoli

We beat Napoli at home, we beat PSG at home, and frankly, we shouldn’t worry about who we face in the next round.

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