Reds meet City in pivotal clash

2014-04-13 12:30

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The year 1990 was one that featured a number of milestones – Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the Simpsons aired for the first time and rapper Vanilla Ice unleashed Ice Ice Baby on the unsuspecting public.

More importantly for Liverpool fans, it was the last time the club tasted league glory.

Now, 24 years later, the Reds have their first realistic chance of erasing two decades of hurt by hoisting the league trophy aloft once more.

Today’s clash with Manchester City will prove pivotal to whether or not Brendan Rodgers’ men can achieve that feat.

At present, both sides’ title hopes rest squarely in their own hands.

A win at Anfield will mean that should the victor triumph in their remaining fixtures, they will be the 2013/14 Premier League champions.

The game is an intriguing one on many levels, but perhaps most so in the battle up front.

City began the season in devastating goal-scoring form, dispatching team after team with consummate ease as they turned the Etihad Stadium into a fortress.

Sergio Agüero’s injury-enforced absence briefly saw them lose that ­attacking potency, but having registered 18 goals in six league matches since the beginning of March, they appear to be back on track.

But their three-goals-a-game average is bettered by Liverpool’s 20 goals over the same period.

The Reds have been simply irresistible in attack, with Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge forming a strike ­partnership more lethal than what has been seen before in the Premier League era.

A slightly simplistic view of Liverpool’s tactics suggests a “it doesn’t matter if you score, we’ll just score more” philosophy, with the Reds’ defence producing their fair share of embarrassing moments.

But while so much talk might surround the two teams’ respective strike forces, it is the midfield where the game could be won or lost.

Yaya Touré’s impressive form this season has been built on the platform that is provided by Fernandinho, with the Brazilian allowing Touré to thrive in a more free role. It is no coincidence the one game in which Touré was overwhelmed was when Fernandinho was absent.

It’s been a long time since Liverpool were in touching distance of the league title, and should they lose today that wait is likely to continue.

But if there is one thing Liverpool have proven this season, it is that they are capable of anything. Luckily for the neutral, the same can often be said for City.

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