Saturday evening saw Manchester City make the short trip up the M62 to Goodison Park to take on Everton – the team who last season inflicted Pep Guardiola’s heaviest ever defeat as a manager.
Pep must have been sick of hearing about that particular day in the build-up as well as talk of Everton being City’s bogey team.
Manchester City have been in insatiable form so far this season and Saturday’s victory over the Toffees saw the blues become only the third side to have beaten all other 19 sides in one season.
It also saw them record yet another League record dominating with 82% possession – the highest ever recorded by an away side in Premier League history.
David Silva turned in yet another man of the match performance despite missing several games this season to return home to be with his wife and son. Guardiola will be relying on his magical touch and vision if the blues have any hope of undoing Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Liverpool are the only English side to have beaten City this season and are playing with great confidence – not to mention the fact that City have not won at Anfield for 37 years.
The midweek game gives City the chance to finally break that terrible record and the Scouse fans have promised to make the atmosphere in the ground like a cauldron – something that they are more than capable of doing.
However, City can take inspiration from the fact that in their last three encounters with Liverpool, they have scored nine goals compared to five from Liverpool. And with the Champions League tie being played over two legs, there is plenty to be optimistic about.
Earlier this season City recorded their best ever victory over Liverpool with a 5-0 thrashing at the Etihad before a blockbuster of a game at Anfield where City suffered their only league defeat of the season.
Even with all of the complimentary comments by pundits, opposition managers and players, the champions elect need to remain focused over the next eight days.
For the ages…
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 2, 2018
Recording a first victory at Anfield in 37 years will not only give the blues the all important advantage for the second leg at home but will give them even more confidence heading into Saturday’s game with United.
City skipper Vincent Kompany is aware of what it would mean to the fans to win the title on Saturday.
“I’ve lived in Manchester long enough to know how important it is to them (the fans) and how important it is to the other team that it doesn’t happen. We need that momentum and good feeling so we need to have a good Champions League game. We have a big game in midweek and we have to deal with Man United next weekend so we’ll take it game by game, but we have done very well so far.”
When City travelled to Old Trafford earlier in the season, Jose Mourinho was criticised by United fans for parking the bus at home – not least in the Manchester derby.
The fact that Jose has no issue with doing that at home and isn’t concerned about how the supporters feel, suggest it would not be a shock to see several buses parked at the Etihad – although United fans may well be more supportive of the tactic if it ensures City do not win the title this week.
The next few days could well be some of the most important in the club’s history.