By Harvey Byrne
Former midfielder Dietmar Hamann has predicted a low-scoring draw between Liverpool and Manchester City.
The two Premier League heavyweights are currently preparing to face each other in Manchester at City’s Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides have built up reputations for having shaky back lines this season with summer goalkeeper signings Claudio Bravo and Loris Karius also coming under a lot of criticism.
But, when the two side’s last met on New Years Eve just the one goal settled the match, with the Reds earning a 1-0 victory through a Georginio Wijnaldum effort and Hamann believes it will be another close encounter, stating Liverpool can’t afford to lose the fixture.
“If I was Jurgen Klopp ahead of Sunday’s game, I’d be thinking ‘these guys are the same as us’. They’re decent going forward, but at the back there’s huge gaps,” told Hamann to PaddyPower.
“Both clubs lack balance – City not quite as much as Liverpool. The Blues are a point better off in the table and have a game in hand. But, it’s a massive opportunity for Liverpool to sow a seed of doubt in their opponent’s minds and make a statement.
“Liverpool can’t afford to lose in the hunt for a top four place because they could go seven points behind, if City win their game in hand. Liverpool won’t make up that deficit.
“I expect them to press high at the start against Man City to hunt another mistake, especially as the Citizens will be a bit fragile and possibly low on confidence. The Reds will hassle the home side and make it as awkward as possible for them. While I wouldn’t say it’s a must win for Pep, it’s certainly a ‘must not lose’ for Liverpool.
“City won’t want to lose either as things can go awry very quickly for them if they do. Manchester City has always been a volatile club. I thought they’d be fine under Guardiola, but then again it’s City.
“The easy angle is to say there’ll be goals because of both teams’ defensive frailties, but it’s time now for both of them to learn. I can see a low-scoring game because at some stage both sides have got to be a more cautious.
“Liverpool would certainly take a draw. After City’s midweek showing they’d probably take it as well – I’m going for a 0-0 or 1-1.”
Liverpool are currently one point behind Manchester City in the league table, but the Reds have played a game in hand.
If Jurgen Klopp’s side do a fall to a defeat on Sunday then they could potentially move seven points adrift of third if City win their game in hand.
Additionally, both Arsenal and Manchester United, who have played two games less could overtake Liverpool after they complete their matches.
However, if Liverpool pick up the three points on Sunday they could move up to second place going into the international break.
In other Liverpool news, Robbie Savage has also predicted the Reds’ match against Manchester City.