Tuesday, December 31, 12:15 PM (Eastern time)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho will not be playing against Manchester City
Coutinho, 24, has missed six games with an ankle injury picked up in November’s win over Sunderland. The Reds manager also confirmed that defender Joel Matip will miss the City game with a similar injury.
“The City game is too early and I’m pretty sure the Sunderland match on Monday is too early too,” Klopp said of Coutinho’s injury.
Liverpool enter the game off the backs of 3 consecutive victories in the Premier League, which lifted them up to second place in the table as a hectic festive season looms. City, in comparison, also won all three of their previous Premier League fixtures, but lost 3 of their previous League matches against the Reds – two of them after Jurgen Klopp had assumed the role of manager at Anfield.
However, Klopp insists recent history counts for nothing but accepts that in Pep Guardiola, City have a man of huge influence.
“He is a fantastic manager. Guardiola has a clear philosophy and it is a pretty good idea. He has had a fantastic career until now. You always have to adapt to your players and that is what he is doing and it is what we do.”
City also has the returning Sergio Aguero, but Liverpool’s record has been very similar to City’s thus far this season – both plays the possession game; they are the highest and joint second-highest scorers this season so far, and play almost permanently on the front foot.
They even share the same weaknesses – with Liverpool being poor at set pieces, while City also has their defensive issues that need mending.
Given the ingredients, the match between second and third could very well determine the title rival for Chelsea, who leads the table by six point; seven ahead of City, six ahead of Liverpool.
Liverpool 1 – 1 Manchester City