Most of our rivals at the top of the league have yawner matches this weekend. Arsenal host Palace. United host Middlesborough. Chelsea host Stoke. You can quite reasonably argue that our trip to Watford is the hardest fixture of the four simply because it is away.
That said, the other fixture featuring top six clubs is the big one this weekend: Liverpool hosting City at Anfield. This fixture has provided plenty of fireworks in recent seasons but this will actually be the first showdown between Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s City. If Pep learned nothing from the hidings his team received from Spurs and Leicester, then this fixture could go extremely well for the home side. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino would have no lack of joy attacking into the sort of space City left available behind their defensive line when playing both us and the defending champions earlier this season.
However, despite the fact that I expect Liverpool to win, I think the best result for us is a draw. City and Liverpool are both teams that I expect we’ll be very close to at season’s end so any dropped points for them are good. So let’s get four dropped points from six instead of one team dropping three and the other picking up a massive win (and boosting their GD).
Do you have any predictions for the game? Will City actually sit back more and deny Liverpool the space to attack into? How will Mane and Firmino fare in their first clash with Guardiola’s City? Can Adam Lallana continue his remarkable form for the Reds?
Of course, this is also the last Hoddle of 2016 so if you have any year-end sort of arguments this would be a good time for those. :)