Clash of the titans: Manchester City vs Liverpool FC

Samuel Greco Schwartz Roar Rookie

By , Samuel Greco Schwartz is a Roar Rookie

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    With Premier League football returning to our screens following the international break, we take a look at the headline fixture which kicks off the round.

    In the early kick-off on Saturday (9:30pm AEST), Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City welcome Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool FC to the Etihad Stadium. Although early in the campaign, this encounter could have significant repercussions on the title race come the end of the season.

    This will be the first outing for both sides since the transfer window slammed shut. Klopp will be eager to put the Coutinho transfer saga behind him while Guardiola will have a selection dilemma as he considers who will spearhead his side’s attack.

    These are some of the major talking points as we preview this blockbuster encounter

    What next for Coutinho?
    Over the summer the Brazilian magician was subject to plenty of transfer speculation, linking him with Spanish giant Barcelona. Despite signing a five-year contract extension earlier this year, the 25-year-old reportedly had his heart set on a move to Barca.

    This wasn’t the first time a Liverpool player has been linked to Barcelona. Back in 2014 Liverpool striker Luis Suarez swapped Merseyside for the Catalan outfit and has thrived ever since in La Liga.

    However, in this latest transfer saga Liverpool’s owners were adamant that their star player wouldn’t be departing the club. Despite constant rumours of unrest, Coutinho remains a Liverpool player following the end of the transfer window.

    Following his exploits with the Brazilian national team Coutinho has returned to Liverpool and now the question on everyone’s minds is whether he’s ready to play again for the Reds.

    If he’s fit, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in the match day squad for their encounter with Manchester City. Based on his side’s previous performances, it’s understandable that Klopp may not want to alter his starting line-up, but I think that the Brazilian can get the job done either way, whether he’s in the starting line-up or introduced from the bench.

    With the transfer window shut, all eyes will be on Coutinho as he prepares to make his first appearance in the Premier League this season.

    (Image: AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT)

    Gabriel Jesus versus Sergio Aguero
    The rookie versus the veteran. Since the arrival of Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus in January, Aguero’s place in the starting line-up has come under threat. So far this campaign the 29-year-old has had to play second fiddle to Jesus. The young striker has started all three Premier League matches this campaign and looks to be Pep Guardiola’s first choice striker this season.

    Although the 20-year-old has been in impressive form, it may be wise for Guardiola to rely on experience in this upcoming encounter with Liverpool.

    If Aguero is once again overlooked for this match, it may signal a changing of the guard at City. Without game time, the Argentinian’s days at Manchester City may be numbered and a January transfer may not be out of the question.

    The Ox swaps the red of London for the red half of Merseyside
    In one of the more eye-catching deadline day transfers, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal. The England international rejected a move to Chelsea for the opportunity to work with Klopp. Only 24 years old, Oxlade-Chamberlain has 29 England caps to his name and a wealth of experience in the Premier League from his time with Arsenal.

    One of the main reasons for Oxlade Chamberlain’s departure from Arsenal was his desire to play in a different position. Towards the end of his time at Arsenal, he was deployed as a right wing back, a position which he believed didn’t suit him. The 24-year-old arrives at Liverpool with the hope of breaking into Liverpool’s midfield.

    Will Klopp play the Ox where he wants? Based on the current form of Liverpool’s midfielders, Oxlade-Chamberlain may struggle to nail down a place in the starting line-up. This weekend he may just have to settle for a place on the bench as Klopp looks to gradually introduce his latest signing into the squad.

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