Liverpool and Manchester City, the two greatest English rivals of the modern-day game, shared the spoils twice this season in the Premier League. One of them will have the last laugh though on Saturday afternoon as they are set to lock horns at Wembley in an intriguing FA Cup semifinal.
The Reds have already conquered the League Cup defeating Chelsea in the tie-breaker, but the race is still on in the remaining competitions. Both of them progressed to the semifinals of the prestigious Champions League on Wednesday night and Liverpool, only one point behind City in the Premier League standings, should take advantage of Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker’s potential injury absence (as confirmed by Pep Guardiola) in this weekend encounter.
Predicted 4-3-3 Liverpool Lineup To Face Manchester City
Although it was young Caoimhin Kelleher who initially got the nod in Cup ties including the League Cup final, Jurgen Klopp eventually restored Alisson Becker between the sticks in all competitions. The flamboyant Brazilian must keep his place against the champions of England.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson were rested this midweek versus Benfica after an array of fatiguing outings. The fullback pair would return to action replacing Joe Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas down the wide. Ever-present Virgil van Dijk was also among the unused substitutes but should reclaim his starting role alongside Joel Matip in the heart of the backline. Their highline has often been exposed in the recent fixtures and the Dutchman, therefore, must take care of their defensive shape as he has been doing expertly for years.
Naby Keita is unlikely to start after playing the whole game on Wednesday. Fabinho had a difficult time at the Etihad, but his attributes deep down the midfield make him irreplaceable in such high-voltage fixtures. Thiago Alcantara was lucky to escape a marching order last weekend and should maintain his composure this time around while operating in a box-to-box role. Skipper Jordan Henderson must initiate the press in the centre of the pitch but, at the same time, needs to cover the space behind during Alexander-Arnold’s trademark overlapping runs from the right-hand flank.
Liverpool’s ‘fantastic five’ are enjoying a scintillating form in the attacking third. Mohamed Salah is struggling to find the target, but his assist for Sadio Mane earned the Reds a crucial league draw on Sunday evening. The Egyptian and his Senegalese counterpart would be instrumental high up the pitch, whereas the blistering pace and swift footwork of Luis Diaz must be utilised from the left. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino should be involved as ‘super subs’, given their ability to make a difference across the frontline.