Liverpool pose test of Manchester City's bid for immortality

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield

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Boss Pep Guardiola revealed the good news at his press conference ahead of City's trip to Liverpool on Sunday - a game which will come too soon for skipper Vincent Kompany.

The Reds, meanwhile, could use a measure of the certainty their guests will take to Anfield, what with last week's departure of star forward Philippe Coutinho for Barcelona.

City were fortunate to get a point at Selhurst Park over the festive period and have played twice since Liverpool beat Everton in the FA Cup last Friday.

Watford (+135) is in a funk with one win in six league fixtures, but Southampton (+195, +230 draw) is winless in nine.

They are unbeaten since the defeat to Tottenham at Wembley in October however and have won twelve of their last 17 games.

You could forgive Liverpool fans for being optimistic about the visit of Pep Guardiola's side this weekend despite City coming into the game unbeaten and 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

This Newcastle side are vulnerable at home and the longer a game goes on the more likely they are to concede. I don't know what is going to happen at the end of the season, but my respect for these professionals, with this unbelievable schedule - every single game, they do absolutely everything that they have.

Said game aside however, the state of play is rather an interesting one.

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Liverpool, who were without an injured Coutinho, were doing well and were, arguably, the better team until Sadio Mané was sent off in the 37th minute for attempting to decapitate Manchester City goalkeeper, Ederson. "With Van Dijk they are even better".

Guardiola's 4-3-3 formation allows them to retain the ball while playing intricate passes around opponents, yet it also enables his pacy front three to strike on the counter-attack.

Not that any of this bothers City playmaker Kevin de Bruyne.

Will the 26-year-old be able to put in another top shift against Manchester City's explosive offensive threat?

With Klopp's recent switching and shuffling of his Liverpool side, it remains to be seen exactly who could line up in his central midfield three.

He has the work-rate and tenacity to give Salah a run for his money, though there is no room for error in the boiling cauldron of atmosphere that will be Anfield on Sunday. Maybe it changed City's season. Sterling in scintillating form having netted 14 goals. Questions remain about his suitability for this Liverpool team.

In a small snatch of conversation between two football fans late a year ago, an Arsenal admirer is consoled by his friend: "Don't worry!"

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