Liverpool vs Manchester City is much more than “just a game”

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21, Welsh and a lifelong Liverpool fan. Home, away & Europe regular.

It is all both sets of fans can talk about since the draw took place just under three weeks ago – two of the Premier League’s most attacking teams going head-to-head in a competition with Europe’s elite.

The draw triggered an otherwise timid rivalry. Liverpool supporters all hoping and planning for a familiar European atmosphere – pyros, banners and flags lining the streets surrounding Anfield. Manchester City, on the other hand, are not familiar with these events – they can barely fill their own stadium. They laughed at all of the videos circulating on social media of coach welcomes from previous seasons but they could never pull it off and it’s not hard to see why they would be jealous.

 

Liverpool fans are proud of their club’s history – and rightly so. There is no other English club that can boast about having five European Cups in their trophy cabinet, yet we cannot continue to dwell on the past. This Liverpool team needs to write their own history and they have the opportunity to do that now.

Before this campaign began, with Champions League qualifiers to get through, the realistic expectations of fans extended to a top-four finish and just getting through the group stages of the Champions League. Little did we know this Liverpool team would fire through the round of the last 16 and make the quarter-finals.

The Reds have scored 28 goals in eight games in the competition so far, making them the top goal-scorers so far – ahead of PSG who have scored 27 and Real Madrid who have scored 22. They have shown the world that they belong amongst the elite once again.

With a deadly front three that fears no-one and a generally strong squad, Liverpool have nothing to fear tomorrow night or next week at the Etihad for that matter. A clean sheet is crucial. An away goal for City and Liverpool have to work even harder next week. If they can use the home advantage, the advantage of over 50,000 Liverpool fans behind them, they only have to see the game through next Tuesday.

Typically, there would be injuries in the days leading up to the most important fixture of the season so far – Joel Matip, Adam Lallana, Joe Gomez and Emre Can are all ruled out for tonight so that means Dejan Lovren will partner Virgil van Dijk at the back and Trent Alexander-Arnold will likely keep his place at right-back. It doesn’t seem like Klopp would risk putting Nathaniel Clyne back in the XI for his first game back as the gaffer usually likes to ease players back in from injury.

Despite the slight setback, Klopp’s team has what it takes to beat Manchester City – as we saw a few months ago when City came to Anfield and were defeated in a seven-goal thriller.

The fans are definitely up for tomorrow and that can make all the difference. Anfield is renowned for the famous European nights under the lights. The roar of the Kop on a night like this is something else – but tomorrow will be levels above that. The city rivalry, the domestic rivalry as well as showing Manchester City why we boast about our European nights will all come into play.

Regardless of what happens before the game with the coach welcome, the atmosphere INSIDE has to be intimidating and loud. Everyone should be on their feet chanting, clapping, waving flags and scarves and bouncing for the full 90 minutes. It works both ways – the players perform well and the crowd perks up – but if the crowd is already fully behind the team and make that vocally clear, the players know what they have to do.

This is much more than “just a game”. There is a lot at stake, this is the last opportunity Liverpool have to win a trophy this season, and while some say that there is no chance Liverpool would get past the semi-finals I remain optimistic. On their day, this team can beat anyone.

I don’t really know what to expect and the nerves are kicking in. Fortunately, we have a great team, a tremendous manager and passionate fans and I look forward to seeing what they can treat us to tomorrow night!

Allez, allez, allez…

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21, Welsh and a lifelong Liverpool fan. Home, away & Europe regular.