Liverpool are entering a crucial few weeks which could help cement their position at the top of the Premier League table.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are unbeaten in the league this season and go into Sunday’s match against rivals Manchester City six points clear after 11 games played.
Pep Guardiola’s men have suffered two defeats against Norwich and Wolves in recent weeks and are without star defender Aymeric Laporte, who sustained a long-term knee injury back in September.
But Liverpool legend Jason McAteer, who made 100 appearances for the Reds, believes Guardiola will be pragmatic in his approach to avoid the gap being stretched to nine points.
“I think Pep has always been in the driving seat. He has always been confident to go to Anfield and take a point and be happy with that. He is very rarely expansive and very rarely opens it up,” said the 48-year-old speaking at DHL Swing against Cancer event in Dubai.
“I think with the six point gap, Pep knows it can’t go nine points, so he has to be pragmatic in his approach. I think he’ll pack the midfield, won’t be expansive and protect a very brittle back four. Its an area that can be exploited and punished.
“He very rarely squanders possession and that takes a bit of pressure off his back four or five. He knows Liverpool have the quality to hurt his defence. He’ll have to be pragmatic in his approach, and try and grind out a draw or try and nick it.”
Klopp, meanwhile, has his team purring with confidence early in the season and Sunday’s result could be hugely influential in the title battle.
“I think Jurgen will go for an expansive approach. It’ll be a bit cagey, with nerves always playing a part in the first 20 minutes of a big game. Where the match is lost for him is a bad day for his back five. Where it’s won is our front three being clinical,” he said.
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