TODAY’s clash between Liverpool and Manchester City is one of the biggest Premier League matches for years.
Before the kick-off, we have a two-horse race for the Premier League title.
But if City win, then I’m convinced they are certainties to retain the championship.
So all the pressure is on Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
They have to give City a slap in the face and make it clear there’s a real challenge coming from Anfield.
Klopp’s high-pressure style of football definitely rattled Pep Guardiola’s men last term.
Liverpool won 4-3 at Anfield and were also victorious home and away in the Champions League.
But none of that made anyone believe the Reds could really challenge at the top.
The season ended with a 25-point gap between the sides.
City have started this term looking like they’ll deliver another shining example of goal-laden consistency.
And consistency is undoubtedly the key when it comes to winning titles.
Liverpool can be absolutely devastating when they’re in full flow.
They have a hugely dynamic front three, and the defence has slowly been improved by their manager.
This season they also have a proper goalkeeper between the sticks.
Mo Salah hasn’t been able to replicate his outstanding form of last season to date, but I don’t think there’s anything to panic about.
He was always going to find it hard to better such an unbelievable spell of form last term.
I suspect his problem may be something to do with the shoulder injury he sustained during the Champions League Final.
Rushing to go to the World Cup with Egypt probably didn’t help him recover fully from the knock.
There are, however, signs that he’s starting to find his rhythm.
This afternoon’s game would be the ideal time to show that form is temporary, but class is permanent.
What a boost it would be to Liverpool to see Salah back at his best.
Although this could be an incredible game and hugely significant, Jurgen Klopp has to look beyond Manchester City.
He’s loved by the Liverpool fans and has brought a real excitement back to the club.
But, and this has to be pointed out, he hasn’t won anything yet.
His failure to pick up a trophy hasn’t brought him any real heat yet.
It will come, though – nothing is surer. Pundits and ex-players will be quick to point out a lack of silverware if it goes beyond a third season.
You really don’t get long in modern football.
Fans will eventually get impatient and the money men are always looking for results.
There’s little loyalty from the people who plough cash into our clubs.
It’s fair to point out that Manchester City have now had around 10 years of an annual massive injection of funds.
But Klopp has to show his team is now a match for City, and then he needs them to rack up the league victories.
Liverpool have to show they’re not just all about raising their game.
City have won the title by being relentless and grinding out wins on the road.
Liverpool haven’t done that often enough over the last couple of years.
That’s the challenge and beating Pep’s team would give them the chance to make sure there’s a genuine title race this season.
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