Pep Guardiola on ropes as Liverpool come face-off Manchester City

The City boss said: "I received a text message from him the day after".

"For me City is the most hard team to play". Nothing too surprising. They press well, play quickly and can score from just one play where they put you under pressure.

He's the guy who kicked off because his client didn't get a birthday cake presented to him by the club, remember!

"John Stones next season will be a better player".

Jordan Henderson would be in this position had he been fit, but Fernandinho is a pretty handy option as well.

In terms of early team news, City could see Nicolas Otamendi and Yaya Toure come back into the fold but Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan remain out of action with long-term injuries.

But just when it looked as though Leroy Sane's 71st minute goal had opened the door to the quarter-finals, City switched off and were undone by a classic set-piece goal as Tiemoue Bakayoko headed powerfully home.

City are by no means guaranteed a top-four spot - and have games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea coming up.

"Teams, when they attack you, feel comfortable and when they defend deep sometimes they have more problems". Wijanldum's header was the difference between these two sides last time and though it was a low scoring affair, it was nothing if not entertaining - encounters between these two football purists always are.

Guardiola is also unlikely to recall City's loan players to the club, with Joe Hart, the England goalkeeper now at Torino, and Samir Nasri, the France midfielder at Sevilla, the most high-profile absentees.

Week in week out, the fixtures become more and more important. The Croatian global played for the under-23 side on Monday and is fit to make his first senior appearance since January, while Firmino missed only last weekend's win against Burnley and will surely start the game. They have, however, been able to raise their game against top-six sides: they've gone undefeated against such opposition so far this season, winning four times and drawing twice.

The hawks are circling after the cash-rich club were dumped out of Europe in midweek, losing to a fired-up Monaco side and nothing but three points will do against the Reds.

Manchester City have lost five of their last six Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W1). If you didn't notice, it's because you were watching Barcelona v PSG instead.

The big match at the top end is Manchester City against Liverpool on Monday morning (Hong Kong time) as third plays fourth. Nevertheless, this game is a massive opportunity for either side to pull ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who were badly beaten at West Brom on Saturday.

He's actually one of the best central midfielders to ever play in the Premier League and is criminally underrated by many, but he's past his best now and a defensive liability.

  • Julie Sanders