In a game that sees two managers performance under intense scrutiny it is the side in Blue who’s manager seems to already have his fate sealed despite achieving a very decent season with a great improvement over the previous seasons. Rafa Benitez on the other hand has spent a fair amount of money at the beginning of the season and had he not managed to persuade Fernando Torres to come to Anfield; he would certainly be looking at his P45 at the end of the season; because without him and Steven Gerrard Liverpool would have been battling with the likes of City for that last European place.
Eriksson is most probably a dead man walking because the club allowed someone who knows nothing of the culture of British football to take over Manchester City. There is not one manager out there at present who on paper could be cajoled into coming to City that could do a better job than Eriksson given our mid table placing as City has been out in the wilderness for so long that our standing in Europe holds no sway.
So this is a game that neither manager need worry about the result other than pride as come what may Liverpool will finish fourth and City will more than likely finish ninth.
Given that there was no Friday pre-match press conference; here is a brief quote from Sven about the team and skipper Dunne: “The boys have worked very hard this week, I`m very pleased with them. It was important that they did that in training, otherwise we would be a bit flat in the remaining games, so I hope we get the opposite of course. I`m looking for us to play some good football and to put in two good performances.”
“To finish the season as well as possible, and to try to put in two good performances as well, that`s important for us as professionals. It`s what we have been talking about all week and what we will try to do.”
“Richard Dunne is back, He will play on Sunday. He`s trained fully this week.’
He then talks about Anfield: “The atmosphere at Anfield is one of the best in this country, it can`t be much better for a player, playing in front of a full crowd away at Liverpool.”
Liverpool FC Team News:
Top scorer Fernando Torres is a major doubt after he was forced off against Chelsea with a hamstring problem and he is unlikely to be risked this weekend.
Martin Skrtel is not expected to feature after limping off at Stamford Bridge with a knee problem.
Sami Hyypia is likely to replace Skrtel in central defence alongside Jamie Carragher, while Peter Crouch could start in attack in place of Torres.
Benitez could also shuffle his pack and freshen up his starting XI after the gruelling extra-time defeat to Chelsea.
Peter Crouch could come into the side but Fabio Aurelio, Daniel Agger and Harry Kewell are long-term absentees.
Player to watch: Gerrard & Torres
Take Your Pick – they are both world class players that can single handidly change a game; but I will edge with Gerrard as he has a likeness to scoring against City at the Kop.
Manchester City FC Team News:
Skipper Richard Dunne will be fit to return after missing last weekend’s defeat at home to Fulham with a hamstring injury.
Micah Ricards is still sidelined as he recovers from knee surgery and Nedum Onuoha is also missing through injury.
Valeri Bojinov could be included in the squad after a long-term injury and left-back Javi Garrido has returned to training.
Player to watch: Martin Petrov
The guy is clearly the best winger in the league; it is just unfortunate that City have not had the squad to capitalise on this.
Match Facts & Stats
We have not won at Anfield since Nicolas Anelka’s late brace at the end of the 2002/3 season. Anfield has notoriously been a bad hunting ground for City; even in the halcyon days of the late sixties and early seventies City would rarely get a result there.
Mark Halsey – Can blow hot and cold with City; but major decisions against City have been down to the poor quality assistants that he has worked with. Its is his fourth game for both Liverpool and City.
I think it will be a far more entertaining game than the one at Eastlands in late December; but Liverpool will probably have just that too much for City with our defensive absentees. Liverpool 2 – 1 City.
Last game of the season away to Middlesbrough on Sunday 11th May with a 3pm kick off.