Liverpool host Man City in Sunday’s Northwest Derby

Liverpool host Man City in Sunday’s Northwest Derby

Liverpool host Man City in Sunday’s Northwest Derby

Arsenal may have gone hysterical after seeing their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspurs defeated by Newcastle United at the Sports Direct Arena. But the Gunners will know that they didn’t win either. Even with the Carzolas, Artetas, Podolskis or Girouds incoming, Arsene Wenger’s men know that defeating Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday is not an easy recipe even for House of Manji, having last won there in 2010.

 Nevertheless, as Le Prof hopes to see his squad get its first goal of the campaign, as the Emirates outfit plans to turn Tony Pulis’ Potters into works of clay, that match will be just a curtain raiser for the main event. And that’s not demeaning the away team.

 All eyes will be on defending champions, Man City, as the nouveau riche side travel to Merseyside to face a team reeling from last weekend’s humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Brom. The season may have promised much for Liverpool, but the Anfield side was stopped in the middle of its tracks in devastating fashion.

 This time round, last season’s goal-scoring machine is in town, and Brendan Rodgers will know that his defense cannot fall at home to a supposedly title rival. He must be thanking his lucky stars for Sergio Aguero’s injury, only that Roberto Mancini has Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko in his arsenal, as the Italian seeks an eighth consecutive premiership victory.

 What works for the Reds is history. The Sky Blues haven’t won at Anfield since May 2003, though with Daniel Agger missing courtesy of a red card, that history may end up being, well, history. With Samir Nasri, David Silva and Yaya Toure on the prowl, an aging Carragher may find it hard to contain the visitor’s offensive.

 However, Fabio Borini, John Allen, Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard should give the visitors plenty to ponder, as Liverpool seeks to get their campaign started with a home victory. Last season, it was the home games that made the 18-time champions veer off the premiership track, as the Kenny Daglish-managed squad finished in 8th position.

 With an overhaul of management now in place, John W. Henry will be hoping that the men floating on Arabian oil do not travel the 58km stretch back to Etihad Stadium with a victory. Liverpool have already gotten to their worst start ever to a Premiership campaign. Another defeat will knock the wind out of their sails.

All signs point to a spectacle, given the stakes involved. Whatever the formations the managers choose to employ, let’s all hope ecstasy will be our partner tomorrow evening, as the cauldron that is Anfield lives up to its Kop billing.

Probable Lineups

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas, Allen; Borini, Suarez, Downing

 Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy; Rodwell, Toure; Nasri, Silva; Tevez, Balotelli

Sunday 26th August

3:30pm                 Stoke City – Arsenal, Britannia Stadium, SS3

6pm:                      Liverpool – Man City, Anfield, SS3

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