Photo by CLIVE BRUNSKILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Predicted Liverpool XI v Manchester City, Jota and Thiago to start

Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday as they prepare to face off against Premier League title rivals Manchester City.

It is unquestionably Jurgen Klopp’s biggest test of the season as they look to move eight points clear of Pep Guardiola’s team in the league standings.

Avoiding defeat is crucial as Liverpool cannot afford to surrender three points to their closest challengers given the number of injury setbacks they have received in recent weeks.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 31: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool gives instructions to his substitutes Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri ahead of them coming on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on October 31, 2020 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Selection decisions to make

The first big question is which formation should he go with? Repeating the success of the 4-3-3 system that worked particularly well against Everton would be smart.

Liverpool will be hoping to start both Thiago Alcantara and Joel Matip who both enjoyed standout performances the last time both players featured under Klopp, which was during the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

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Matip suffered a muscle injury against Everton and subsequently missed Liverpool’s next five matches in both the Premier League and Champions League. He was amongst the travelling squad during the clash with Atalanta but did not start which could indicate he is being rested for Sunday.

 

Thiago also failed to travel with the team to Italy with Klopp perhaps deeming that the all-important fixture with City as a match perfectly suited for a player of the Spaniard’s quality.

Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum both played against Atalanta meaning the midfield duo could partner Thiago as part of a three-man triumvirate.

Up-front, Klopp’s biggest decision is who does he pick between Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino given both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are both considered undroppable forward options.

We are going for the former on this occasion given the difference in current form between the two players.

Also, it’s about time Jota got his chance. He has looked sharp in cameos, and he will be up for this big game.

Liverpool could go with a forward trident of Jota, Mane and Salah with the Egyptian international deployed centrally.

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