Manchester City v Liverpool: Five Key Battles

Five key battles for the mega Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Who will emerge triumphant?

Joleon Lescott v Luis Suarez

With Vincent Kompany likely to miss this match with a calf problem, Joleon Lescott will be the heartbeat of the City defence. If Luis Suarez has any cleverness, and he does and plenty of it, he will try to drift onto Lescott with each attacking Liverpool move because he has the pace and movement to exploit Lescott’s weaknesses. In turn this will create space for other Liverpool players.

Javi Garcia v Daniel Sturridge

Roberto Mancini may be tempted to stick with Garcia as the second centre back alongside Lescott because City kept a clean sheet in their last match at QPR. Sturridge said in a recent interview that there’s a lot more to come from him, well it’s time to show it. Sturridge, similarly to Suarez, has the perfect combination of trickery and pace to routinely get the better of a player who doesn’t normally play as a centre back.

David Silva v Steven Gerrard

It’s an obvious battle and the one which everyone will be drawn to. Silva and Gerrard are the most influential players on either side and while they are unlikely to come up against each other directly, whoever is the most influential on the ball will win this battle. Silva is likely to see more of the ball through possession but Gerrard has the greater ability to lead and motivate his side.

Edin Dzeko v Martin Skrtel

Dzeko could get the nod to start in this game if Mancini goes with two up top because Carlos Tevez was disappointing against QPR. Dzeko is the big aerially threat in the Manchester City team so Liverpool will tell Skrtel to man mark him when City are attacking because he can cope with him physically better than Daniel Agger can, which increases Liverpool’s chances of keeping him quiet.

Sergio Aguero v Daniel Agger

If Aguero is on fire then Agger could have a very long day at the office. Agger is the sort of defender who likes to have the ball at his feet and play it out from the back so he could be putting in plenty of challenges on Aguero to win the ball back. Expect to see the Argentine trying to stretch the Liverpool defence and pull Agger out of position.

Tell us what you see as the key battle in this game.

image: © Free-ers

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch