One team can end 2016 on the perfect note when Liverpool face Manchester City at Anfield on New Year’s Day. The Reds could have Philippe Coutinho back after the Brazilian was out for several weeks with an injury. While they have missed their star player, Liverpool have managed in his absence. Their biggest win of that spell came at Goodison Park last week when Sadio Mane scored a winner deep into stoppage time to send fans into delirium.
Manchester City have put an end to their crisis with two successive wins against Watford and Arsenal. Does that put an end to questions about their strength? No. Arsenal took the lead inside the opening quarter of an hour last week. Ilkay Gundogan didn’t die for that. He didn’t die at all but it seemed a waste of good tribute t-shirts to crumble yet again.
Instead, it was Arsenal who crumbled and City went on to win. There’s no question about how good they are at attacking. The fact that John Stones was benched helped City too. He hasn’t had a great start to life at the Etihad. But he’s far from the only culprit at the back.
One thing we can expect is goals. At the time of writing, both teams have played 34 games combined which have yielded 117 goals. That’s an average of 3.4 goals per game. Daniel Sturridge could be in contention to start after his match-changing cameo against Everton. If there are any doubts about the fitness of Coutinho then Klopp has options.
Liverpool predicted XI: Mignolet, Klavan, Lovren, Clyne, Milner, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Henderson, Firmino, Mané, Coutinho
Man City predicted XI: Bravo, Clichy, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Otamendi, Silva, Touré, Fernando, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sané