The biggest game for Liverpool this season so far, at least, is finally here as Klopp will for the first time enter Wembley as a manager in the Premier League. He will lead his Liverpool team out on the field in the League Cup final this weekend against Manchester City who will be hoping to add some silverware to a trophy-less season last time around.
Both clubs will go into this game with strong teams and with Wembley at its peak, it will be an occasion to savor for both sets of fans. Liverpool dominated City in the last meeting between the two sides and with two back to back games against the Citizens in two competitions, it will be interesting to see how the Liverpool manager sets his team out.
Pellegrini on the other hand still has the Champions League and the Premier League title to worry about and with a trip to Anfield on the horizon after this game, the team sent out may not be the strongest.
Here is the preview of this game along with the team news, predictions, expected line-up and Betting Odds.
The League Cup final between Liverpool and Manchester City will be played on Sunday the 28th of February at the Wembley stadium in London. The kick-off is scheduled at 4:30 pm BST (10:00 pm IST).
Klopp delivered some good news for the Reds as he revealed that the defensive pair of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren are back in action. However, neither will be fit enough to start the final on Sunday. Adam Lallana and Joe Allen are also nearing full fitness but the trio of Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino will most probably start the game against City. Toure and Sakho are expected to start in defense for the Reds.
Pellegrini also had a smile on his face as he revealed that Wilfred Bony, Jesus Navas and Mangala are back in contention for a place in the final on Sunday. Pablo Zabaleta might get his place back after missing out in the Champions League while Samir Nasri is still not fit enough to be considered for this trip.
Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno; Henderson, Can; Milner, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge.
Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho; Silva, Toure, Sterling; Aguero.
Sturridge vs Kompany:
The ex-Manchester City forward Daniel Sturridge will be up a raring to go at Wembley and will be hoping to get back to scoring ways after he has not been able to find the back more than once since coming back from injury. He will be up against Vincent Kompany who himself is back from an injury lay-off. It will be interesting to see who gets out triumphant from this battle on the night.
Aguero vs Toure:
Arguably the best striker in the Premier League at the moment, Sergio Aguero will have a huge burden on his shoulders and will have to hit the ground running for the Citizens at Wembley. However, it will not be easy for him against the experience of Kolo Toure who has done extremely well in recent games. It is an intriguing battle that can affect the outcome of the match directly.
This will be Liverpool’s 12th League Cup final, a record for the competition. Of the previous 11, they’ve lifted the trophy eight times (1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1995, 2001, 2003 and 2012).
Manchester City have been in four previous League Cup finals, winning in 1970, 1976 and most recently in 2014 against Sunderland. They were runners-up in 1974, losing to Wolves.
This will be the first final in any competition contested between Liverpool and Manchester City.
In the cup competition, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight against the Citizens (W6 D2), last losing to them in an FA Cup fourth-round replay in 1973.
Excluding Community Shield matches, Manchester City have won on four of their last five trips to Wembley – the exception being the FA Cup final loss to Wigan in 2013.
Jurgen Klopp has now reached a cup final in each of his last five seasons as a manager, but he’s lost the last three. He won the DFB Cup with Dortmund in 2012, lost the Champions League final at Wembley 2013 and lost successive German cup finals in 2014 and 2015.
Manchester City: 11/10
Liverpool have not conceded in the last three games in all competitions and will be hoping to keep their record intact at Wembley. But keeping the Manchester City forward line quiet is not going to be easy. However, if they are able to reproduce the performance from the Etihad earlier this season, it may well be a long night for the Citizens. This game has all the makings of an epic encounter that can go down to the wire.
Liverpool 1-2 Manchester City