Pundit Paul Merson has shared his prediction for when Liverpool travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Writing in his weekly column for Sportskeeda, the former Arsenal player believes the Reds’s attacking line can exploit the Cityzens’s open defence.
“Liverpool aren’t going to dominate the ball and will use their pace on the counter with Salah, Nunez, and Gakpo,” said Merson.
“Manchester City do leave open spaces at the back and Liverpool will need to exploit them.
“Liverpool have been a bit like a bag of rebels, and Jurgen Klopp doesn’t know what he’s going to get from his team. One minute they’re beating United and City and the next, they’re losing to Bournemouth away from home.
“If Liverpool lose to City and then beat Arsenal next week, they’ll have blown the title race wide open. Liverpool need to win both of these games to get into the top four, and that would be a good result for them.
“Liverpool haven’t had the season they’ve had so far only because of Trent Alexander-Arnold. He gets a lot of stick, and I’m not sure what Liverpool are going to do with the situation. They’ve won Premier League and Champions League titles with him in the team.
“I would be shocked if Erling Haaland isn’t fit for this game – he pulled out of the international break. I don’t know which Liverpool are going to turn up, and I’m backing Man City to win a massive three points this weekend. Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Liverpool.”
Merson thinks City will beat Liverpool
If Klopp’s side are to have any chance of securing Champions League football, the next few matches will be absolutely crucial.
Currently, the Reds sit sixth in the table, having secured 42 points from 26 games.
Brighton and Brentford have the same number of points, but the former have a game in-hand over Liverpool – meaning they could be pushed down to seventh.
Higher up the table, Tottenham Hotspur currently remain fourth with 49 points from 28 fixtures. Newcastle United are close on their heels, just two points behind with two games in-hand.
Therefore, if Liverpool aren’t able to beat City this weekend, it’s more than likely that their chances of a spot in the top-four are over.
This could have repercussions in the transfer market this summer – potentially affecting the club’s rebuild.
Thus, Klopp will be relying on Salah, Nunez and Gakpo to secure three points.