Liverpool-Manchester City Preview
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp insisted there is no need to speak of the qualities of Roberto Firmino ahead of the Premier League champions' showdown with fellow title favourites Manchester City.
The Reds travel to Etihad Stadium on Sunday aiming to maintain their position at the top of the table heading into the international break.
A major talking point over recent weeks has been the form of Diogo Jota, who followed up a run of three goals in three games with a hat-trick in a 5-0 rout of Atalanta in a midweek Champions League clash.
With Jota enjoying a flying start at Liverpool, it has been mooted that Firmino - who has scored just once this term - may have to make way to incorporate the former Wolves forward, but Klopp was adamant there is no need to remind everybody of the Brazilian's talent.
"For who is with us, I don't have to say one word about how important Bobby Firmino is for us," said Klopp, who also confirmed Thiago Alcantara is not fit to feature on Sunday.
"Who isn't with us, I don't care. He was in so many games the difference maker without scoring but scoring in other games as well. I would feel really embarrassed if I had to mention now, the qualities of Firmino."
Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, insisted Sunday's clash will not be a decisive one in the title race.
"(Liverpool) are biggest favourite but I think this season, the pandemic, the situation is different, other teams are really strong," Guardiola said.
"Leicester maintained their level. Arsenal make an incredible big step forward to be contender and Tottenham, Jose Mourinho got the team like he wants and Chelsea now stable, huge squad for rotation of top players.
"In this moment Manchester United, not in terms of the results but I know their quality, up front fast, clinical, they are top class. This season will be a lot of teams being there and I think the last 5-10 games will be important to have the challenge to fight for the title, hopefully we can be there."
Manchester City - Kevin De Bruyne
Clashes between these Premier League heavyweights are always end-to-end encounters, and De Bruyne will almost certainly be integral for City, who will aim to win the midfield battle and exploit Virgil van Dijk's absence for the Reds.
Liverpool - Mohamed Salah
Salah already has seven goals to his name in the top-flight this term, and the Egypt star has scored 80 times in the Premier League in 115 games for Liverpool since joining them in 2017, at least nine more than any other player in the division in that time.
- City have won their last three home league games against Liverpool by an aggregate score of 11-1. They have not won four consecutively against the Reds at home since March 1937.
- City have also won nine of their last 10 Premier League games against reigning champions, with the only exception in that run being a 2-4 loss at Leicester in December 2016. However, they've won none of their last 11 when facing Liverpool as the previous season's title winner (D2 L9) since a 3-1 win in October 1977.
- Liverpool have conceded 15 goals in their seven Premier League games this season, as many as they shipped in their first 26 league games last term. Indeed, it's the most the Reds have conceded seven games into a league campaign since 1964-65 (also 15).
- Guardiola has lost more games against Liverpool manager Klopp than he has any other manager in his career (eight).
- Two of Jota's three goals for Liverpool in the Premier League this season have been as a substitute - no other player has scored more than once from the bench in the competition so far this term.
Updated November 6, 2020