Liverpool starting lineup to face Manchester City – predicted

Here we are then. It doesn't get much bigger than this. First-placed Liverpool take on second-placed Manchester City in the Premier League at Anfield on Sunday.

A single point separates the two sides going into this one and the only thing for certain is that at least one team will drop points here in the title race.

As we hit the business end of the campaign (and Jurgen Klopp's final few weeks as manager) it goes without saying that every game is crucial. And it's important to take each one at a time and not to look too far ahead.

But, having said that and all the other standard cliches... Some matches are just bigger than others and it's hard to understate the significance a win on Sunday could have for Klopp's side here ahead of the final ten games of the 2023/24 league season.

Amid the injury crisis and need to compete on multiple fronts, three points here against their biggest rivals would be a mega boost for the Reds.

Here's how Klopp could line up his side for the visit of the champions.

Goalkeeper & Defence

Caoimhin Kelleher, Liverpool

24th January 2024 Craven Cottage, Fulham, London, England Carabao Cup Football Semi Final, Second Leg, Fulham versus Liverpool Caoimhin Kelleher of Liverpool celebrates with Conor Bradley after Liverpool win 3-2 on aggregate. ShaunxBrooks

A few weeks ago the prospect of going into a potential title showdown against Manchester City without Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold would've been unthinkable.

However, while it would unquestionably be better if the duo were fit, the recent performances of Caoimhin Kelleher and Conor Bradley mean their absences are no longer cause to hide behind the sofa.

The duo have been superb for Liverpool in 2024, playing major roles in the Reds' run of seven straight wins, including three clean sheets.

Bradley's ascension has been so surprisingly rapid that accommodating both him and the Reds vice-captain in the same lineup will be a future challenge for the Liverpool manager.

Alongside the two Irish stars will be the more senior presences of captain Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, assuming the latter's mid-week substitution really was pre-cautionary only.

If the Frenchman isn't fit, however, expect Joe Gomez or, less likely, Jarell Quansah to step up.

Whoever it is at centre back, the challenge is a big one: keep Erling Haaland out.

Andy Robertson will likely be the starting left back, despite impressive recent showings from both Gomez and Kostas Tsimikas.


Wataru Endo

Wataru Endo

Wataru Endo came off the bench to make a significant, if subtle, contribution to Liverpool's last-gasp win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday. After recovering fully from the knock he received in the Carabao Cup final, he played 90 minutes in the 5-1 win over Sparta Prague and should start at the base of midfield, with his industry never more needed than against the City machine.

If Endo starts, Alexis Mac Allisteranother hero from the trip to Nottingham — is likely to be pushed into a more advanced role.

Dominik Szoboszlai, who finally made his comeback, could be in line for a first start since his injury after coming off the bench to score late on in the Europa League.

Harvey Elliott may feel unlucky to miss out on a place in the XI, having contributed a hat-trick of assists on Thursday, while the impressive young Bobby Clark is also an option from the bench after earning his first Premier League start last weekend.


Mohamed Salah

Brentford v Liverpool, London, UK - 17 Feb 2024 Goal celebrations for Mohamed Salah of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Brentford and Liverpool at The GTech Community Stadium, London on 17 February 2024 London The GTech Community Stadium London England Copyright: xMicahxCrook/PPAUKx PPA-089862

Will he? Won't he?

The big question hanging over the visit of City is the fitness of Mohamed Salah.

All the signs and recent hints from the manager have suggested that Salah is in line to start for this one and you'd bet good money the Egyptian is doing absolutely everything in his power to make sure that's the case.

Salah got a 20-minute run out against Sparta on Thursday evening and looked his old self as he even had a goal controversially chalked off for offside during his brief cameo.

Assuming he does start for the first time for Liverpool since New Year's Day, it's two from three for the other positions.

Cody Gakpo has played a lot of football recently without really excelling, while Darwin Nunez's incredible recent form shows why he is Klopp's first-choice No. 9.

Luis Diaz should continue on the left. Jayden Danns, suffered a concussion last weekend and missed the trip to the Czech capital but could return here along with Lewis Koumas to be wild cards on the bench for Klopp.

Predicted Liverpool starting XI vs Manchester City

(4-3-3): Kelleher; Bradley, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Szoboszlai, Endo, Mac Allister; Salah, Nunez, Diaz

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