Date: 1st October 2021 at 4:06pm
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Manchester City travel to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday, in what promises to be one of the most exciting games of the season. 

Despite coming at such an early stage in the Premier League campaign, the match could have a huge impact on determining where the trophy ends up in May.

Liverpool are the only unbeaten side so far this season, and sit at the top of the table, but have played only one of the ‘top six’ so far.

City, meanwhile, are a point behind their opponents, and have already played Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

The game is an interesting prospect for the neutral, with both sides looking promising ahead of kick off on Sunday afternoon.

Below, we highlight three key battles that could decide who comes out on top at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah v Joao Cancelo

Egyptian superstar Salah broke yet another record against Brentford last weekend, becoming the fastest Liverpool player in history to score 100 top-flight goals.

He the followed that up with a brace against Porto in the Champions League, taking his tally to 133 in 211 gamed for the Reds.

The former Chelsea man, who also scored twice for the Blues, has been one of the division’s standout players since arriving from Roma in 2017, and will likely be at the centre of the action on Sunday.

Salah has started this season in his usual prolific form

The winger has six career goals against City for Liverpool, and will be keen on adding to that tally this weekend.

The man tasked with stopping the prolific forward will most likely be Portuguese full-back Joao Cancelo.

The former Juventus man started at left-back in City’s defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek in the absence of Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko, and will expect to start in the same role against Liverpool.

For all of City’s attacking threat, keeping Liverpool at bay will be crucial if they are going to come away from Anfield with a result, and Cancelo’s display against Salah will likely go a long way towards determining this.

Virgin van Dijk v Gabriel Jesus

For all the talk of City missing a natural centre forward ahead of this season, Pep Guardiola’s side have not looked short of goals whatsoever.

After six matches, the Citizens have had nine different scorers in the league, and are only bettered in terms of goals scored by Liverpool.

One player who has defied expectations so far is Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, who has shone in City’s front three and has two goals to his name so far.

The forward’s latest strike gave City victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend, and the Brazil international promises to cause problems against a Liverpool defence that conceded three times against Brentford last time out.

Tasked with controlling Jesus is Virgil van Dijk, whose return to the Reds’ starting XI has had a huge impact on their backline. After missing much of last season through injury, Van Dijk has been instrumental since returning and will relish the battle with Jesus.

While the City player has been deployed out wide by Guardiola on occasion and he has a number of teammates who Van Dijk will also have a keen eye on, Jesus will undoubtedly pose a threat to Liverpool’s otherwise impressive defensive record.

Jurgen Klopp v Pep Guardiola

With a rather ridiculous amount of talent battling it out on the pitch, one could be forgiven for forgetting the importance of the two men in charge of the teams on Sunday.

Klopp and Guardiola have a long running rivalry, first ignited while in charge of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively and since rekindled at their current clubs.

Klopp and Guardiola will go head to head once again on Sunday

The pair have come head to head on numerous occasions with both men experiencing both invaluable victories and bitter defeats, but this Sunday’s encounter could go a long way towards deciding who gets the better of the other over the course of the season.

While Guardiola has developed something of a habit of overthinking the biggest games and it therefore backfiring, the Spaniard has still gotten the better of his rival on more than one occasion and will be confident of doing so this time around.

Klopp, meanwhile, will be buoyed by the Anfield crowd and will be hoping to extend his side’s lead at the top of the table.

 
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