With a 1-0 victory over Augsburg on Thursday, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League. The win will give both the players and fans some confidence before the League Cup against Manchester City on Sunday.
The final is the best shot for the Reds to get a trophy this season and the players have beaten their opponents already with a 4-1 victory over the Citizens earlier in the year. A victory would give Klopp his first trophy as the Liverpool manager. Even if the competition is not held in as high a regard as it once was, having that trophy shows that the club is moving in a positive direction.
Since he is facing the joint top scoring team in the Premier League, Simon Mignolet will need to be at the top of his game on Sunday. He has had three consecutive clean sheets over the last three matches and having another this weekend almost ensures a trophy for the Reds.
Nathaniel Clyne will have the most interesting matchup since he will likely be marking Raheem Sterling. Clyne handled the former Liverpool player when the two sides met earlier in the season and he has proven time and time again that he is capable of winning the battle against top wingers this season.
Neither Kolo Toure nor Mamadou Sakho started the last time the two sides met and they will be tasked with marking Sergio Aguero. The Argentinian is one of the most feared strikers in the world but hopefully the physicality of Toure and Sakho keep him in check.
Alberto Moreno might not get forward as much as he usually does but that should allow him to focus on the player he is marking. He can match Jesus Navas’ speed but he will have a harder time dealing with the trickery and elusiveness of David Silva.
James Milner remains a solid, if unspectacular winger for the Reds. His leadership and experience is always useful but if there is one thing he needs to do better, it is getting his corners to get past the first defender.
The midfield will be key in this match and it will be up to Jordan Henderson and Emre Can control it. They need to shackle Yaya Toure no matter where he starts since if he is shut down, City struggle to attack properly. Lucas Leiva might be the better option alongside Henderson but Can’s engine is a major asset in this formation as well.
Philippe Coutinho remains the team’s talisman and he seems to be playing with more freedom now that he is not expected to be the only scorer on the field. He should be able to get past Bacary Sagna a few times and the little magician’s movement will confound the opposing defense.
Roberto Firmino looks really comfortable in his new position behind the lone striker and his high work-rate fits in perfectly with Klopp’s system. He will have to work extremely hard against City since the defensive midfielders will bother him as soon as he gets the ball.
Daniel Sturridge has remained healthy so far and it looks like he will start against City as well. Just having him on the pitch has made his teammates so much more confident. He should be able to torment a City defense that has been inconsistent this year. He likely won’t play the full 90 minutes so the team will have to focus on getting a goal before Divock Origi comes on.
Via – Lineup Builder