There are questions that have occupied humanity throughout its existence. The girl in the T-minus produced track “She will” by Lil Wayne ft Drake, did she or didn’t she eventually? Does Donald Trump have a sense of humour? What does Pep Guardiola have against Sergio Aguero? The Manchester City forward is the most potent striker in Premier League football over the last 5 years.
Aguero will be pondering on this question as Man City prepare to host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium Saturday afternoon. Opponents against which he has scored 5 consecutive times in home league games.
Liverpool have started the season reasonably with wins over poor Crystal Palace and a drubbing of Arsenal. Which only further exposed the collective malaise at the Emirates, following a draw at Watford.
In Manchester City, they face a different quality of opposition. Pep’s City may not pass the ball with the dizzying efficiency of his Barcelona team nor posses the tactical superfluity of his Bayern. However, they do have an abundance of quality attackers, and a coach ready to indulge their convergence. Man City are yet to fully click, but while stuttering into gear, they have managed to gain 7 points out of 9 and lie 4th in the embryonic league table behind Liverpool on goal difference.
Gabriel Jesus was preferred to Aguero in the starting XI against Bournemouth and it remains to be seen if he will maintain his starting place. In central defence, Kompany is a doubt due to a minor calf injury he picked up on international duty. Otamendi is most likely to pair with Stones (shudders). Kyle Walker returns from suspension. Raheem Sterling takes his place on the naughty steps. Which means Leroy Sane could get a start. But guessing City’s starting XI for this game and the formation is a futile exercise. Guardiola is one of the most fidgety human beings to ever exist. And the need to find the balance between curtailing Liverpool’s rampant forward line without stifling his team’s fluency, will take prominence in his thoughts.
For Jurgen Klopp continuity may be the way to go. Phillipe Coutinho is back from wanting to go to Barcelona anguish. He is however most likely to be on the bench. Nathaniel Clyne will be missing for a few months at least so Joe Gomez may get the nod over Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool’s Midfield 3 of Can- Henderson-Wijnaldum , will have to put in greater defensive efforts to keep up with the movement and passing of De Bruyne, Silva, Bernado.
Klopp will be hoping for his good record against Man City to continue. It reads P4, W3, D1. James Milner has played for both teams and scored against each. He has never lost a Premier league game in which he has scored. And Sergio Aguero will become the highest Non-European goalscorer in the league if he scores on Saturday. Dwight Yorke is currently the highest with 123 goals.
A clear favourite for victory is not apparent for this game between 3rd and 4th in last season’s league. If any of these teams is to mount a serious challenge for the title this season, then Saturday afternoon offers a chance to hoist their flag.
Article By: Ernest Bosha, @Ernyy_B