After passing through a thorny maze in October, Liverpool found themselves with a chance this weekend.
And in many ways, that was also the time they had a very solid kick at this time last year.
It was November 2019 when Jurgen Klopp’s side met Manchester City in a game that, although in the early stages of the season, was seen as crucial for the final destination of the Premier League title.
The victory for the top team Red Devils will be enough to keep them eight points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s men preparing to enter the international break.
Twelve months later, those situations are likely to await the champions as they prepare to face Man City again.
Fifth win in their last eight games against Guardiola̵7;s side this Sunday will once again open an eight-point gap and preserve Liverpool’s status as the league leader entering the break.
But while there are similarities to be found with that 3-1 win, the Reds also face some key differences.
While victory last November put the Reds in the lead over Man City, they have secured the lead eight points after a dozen games played.
Around time around, Man City will only play seven games on Sunday night and they host Klopp’s champion instead of playing at Anfield where their record is dire.
Their form at home is good against Klopp’s Liverpool, especially under Guardiola, where they have yet to lose in the Premier League.
The Reds’ most recent visit to Etihad was also a miserable night.
Or, perhaps more accurately, should have been, the 4-0 defeat didn’t come just days after they were crowned Premier League champions.
The previous year was certainly even more disastrous, with City’s 2-1 win in January 2019 proving crucial to the ultimate goal of the title a few months later.
“It seems even you think it’s not a decider!” Klopp told the media on Friday.
And while such assertions are true, the game should provide a useful barometer of how the rest of this campaign could play out.
Once again, it was the country’s two best teams and the Premier League’s most senior managers colliding.
An insignificant defeat will not deflect Liverpool, even if it will slow down momentum that has been solidly built since that odd night at Aston Villa.
However, a loss for Man City will certainly have a more lasting impact.
It will push their biggest threat further away in their quest to regain supremacy in the English football league.
After a year of seeing a rampant Red Devils outstripping them to a score 18 points behind them, seeing Liverpool do the same thing so early in this campaign could have a lot of distraction for the challenge.
And while Guardiola’s men still have the foreshadowing of a match at hand, any manager will tell you they want points on the board.
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To put it simply, the home team’s start to Sunday’s all-star clash.
Liverpool, in spite of all that is neutral about the fact that an unpredictable season can lead to an unexpected victory, remains the best team in the country.
Their promenade to the title last season, a match that saw them win it in a swift streak of just 31 games, strangely seemed to have been quickly forgotten.
Perhaps it’s the desire to see others challenge at the top?
Or hope for more purebred children in the race?
Is the abnormality of the 7-2 defeat at Villa Park still lingering in the collective consciousness?
Or the absence of Virgil van Dijk makes Liverpool no longer a bright candidate for this Premier League title?
Whatever the reason, a tough period was handled professionally by Klopp and the players as they took seven points from the last nine on offer, after the international break, to regain their place. at the top of the table.
City will keep an eye on ultimately retaining that position once more, but will the doom of defeat be greater than the spoils of victory on Sunday?
It is almost the ideal position for Liverpool to find himself.