Tonight sees Liverpool make the short trip along the M62 to face the moneybags of the Premier League in Manchester City.
While the Reds can only look on in envy at what has transpired at Eastlands in the past three seasons (coupled with our own financial problems), they can still boast of a proud history that only City can dream of.
Although Roberto Mancini may have spent over £100 million this summer, there are plenty of reasons to suggest that Liverpool are more than capable of getting a point or even three from this evening’s clash.
Why? Well, two main reasons: Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
Both are expected to start together for the first time this season and are surely more than likely to strike fear into City’s defence, one which slipped plenty of goals last season.
However, they are sure to hit a stumbling block in the form of Joe Hart, who will surely be key with regards to City’s chances. Should he perform another goalkeeping master-class like he did against Tottenham, then Reds fans will be in for a frustrating night.
Recent form at Eastlands doesn’t bode too well for the Reds either. Three of the last four visits have ended in goalless draws with the exception being October 2008, after Liverpool came back from 2-0 down at half-time to claim a dramatic 3-2 victory.
A repeat performance would certainly go down well with the travelling Kop, especially after last Sunday’s encouraging performance in the draw against Arsenal.
Looking ahead to this Thursday and it’s hard to predict what sort of team Roy Hodgson will field against Trabzonspor for the second leg of the Europa League Play-Off, coming so soon after tonight’s match.
Will he be tempted to play the likes of Gerrard and Torres again considering the slender one goal advantage? Or will he risk it and make wholesale changes ensuring his star men are fit and ready for the next League game at home to West Brom? (Note, Hodgson has recently admitted that the League was his main priority.)
These dilemmas only add to the other events that have recently transpired since the first leg at Anfield.
Not only has Chinese businessman Kenny Huang pulled out of takeover talks, but with no other bidders in sight, it seems as if the club’s future has once again come under question with the October deadline set RBS looming large over L4 like a large grey cloud.
Again, fans are questioning just what is going on in stark contrast to recent weeks when optimism was in abundance at possible new owners only for that to be quashed with this latest setback. No wonder a result at City will be so welcome in more ways than one.
*Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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