Liverpool renew Manchester City rivalry after poor start in Premier League

Liverpool’s clashes with Manchester City have become a modern Premier League classic in the era of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, but Sunday’s clash at Anfield could already spell the end of the Reds’ title ambitions. Both clubs have shared dominance in English football for the past five years, with City beating Liverpool in exciting title races twice in 2018/19 and last season by a single point. But a run of two wins from their first eight Premier League games has left Liverpool 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and 13 behind City.

In contrast, the defending champions are averaging almost four goals a game as the arrival of Erling Haaland has elevated even a side of experienced winners to a new level.

Guardiola could afford the luxury of resting Haaland for a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen on Tuesday that sealed City’s place in the last 16 of the Champions League with two games remaining.

The Norwegian has scored 20 times in just 12 games since Liverpool opened the season with a 3-1 win over City in the Community Shield.

Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in 13 games as Haaland has failed to score just once in his short Premier League career.

But City have only won once at Anfield since 2003 and that was in February 2021 in front of an empty stadium.

“I expect them to play the best Liverpool they can,” Kevin De Bruyne told Sky Sports.

“Of course they lost some points but they are still Liverpool and I expect them to be good.”

There was at least some relief for Liverpool in Wednesday’s 7-1 win over Rangers in the Champions League when Mohamed Salah came on as a substitute and scored the fastest hat-trick in the history of the competition.

“It changed the mood completely but we all know who we’re welcoming on Sunday and it will be a different game,” said Klopp after beating the Glasgow giants at Ibrox.

Old Trafford test for Newcastle

Newcastle celebrated a year in Saudi sovereign wealth possession by beating Brentford 5-1 last weekend and moving into the top six.

The Magpies have been beaten just once this season and a trip to Old Trafford on Sunday will be a barometer of both sides’ ambitions for the season.

Manchester United have won five of their last six league games but an interim 6-3 humiliation against City showed they are far from done in the first few months of Erik ten Hag’s tenure.

A first win at Old Trafford since 2013 would bolster Tyneside’s belief they can move quickly into the Champions League next season, especially with another opportunity to place their fortunes on the transfer market just weeks away.

Gerrard’s Last Stand?

Aston Villa may be unbeaten in four games but the way they have drawn against 10-man Leeds and struggling Nottingham Forest in recent weeks has put the pressure on Steven Gerrard’s position.

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The former Liverpool captain has been heavily backed in the transfer market but Villa’s ambitious owners see little return on their investment on the field.

Gerrard’s men are just three points above the relegation zone and face the daunting task of a Chelsea side that have been in top form since Graham Potter took charge on Sunday.

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