4 key battles that could settle Liverpool vs Man City

  • Virgil van Dijk set for a battle against Man City's Erling Haaland
  • The unpredictable Darwin Nunez must get the better of Ruben Dias
  • Liverpool's Wataru Endo tasked with limiting Kevin De Bruyne's creativity
Two top players
Two top players / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Contributor and Nigel French/Allstar / Contributor

The biggest game of the Premier League season so far is almost upon us as the top two, Liverpool and Manchester City, do battle at Anfield with only 11 games left to play.

Games between Liverpool and Man City have come to define the fate of the Premier League in the modern era, with the two side consistently being the two best teams in the country for the best part of the last decade.

With players like Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland now fit and firing for Man City, and Mohamed Salah potentially making his return for Liverpool, this match may have come at the perfect time from a neutral perspective.

Here are some of the key battles to watch out for at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Virgil van Dijk vs Erling Haaland

Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is a threat in both boxes / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Depending on who you ask, this is the best central defender in the world against the best striker in the world.

While Van Dijk has been a major threat in the opposition box in recent weeks - scoring the winner in the Carabao Cup final - the centre-back's primary concern on Sunday will be keeping Haaland quiet in his own box.

Haaland spent a chunk of the season out injured and this will be by far his toughest test since returning to full fitness. He may have scored late on against Manchester United but he also missed an absolute sitter. He'll need to be at his very best to get any change out of Van Dijk this weekend.

Darwin Nunez vs Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias might have his hands full / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool's main striker will be coming up against Man City's star centre-half Ruben Dias.

It is fair to say that Nunez is much more of a raw talent than Haaland, but is certainly a handful for defenders thanks to aggressive running in-behind.

The clash with City and Dias will undoubtedly be his trickiest of of the season. Dias has been immaculate in recent months for the Citizens, and will be a hard marker for Nunez to wriggle free of at Anfiedl on Sunday.

Andy Robertson vs Phil Foden

Andy Robertson
Andy Robertson has struggled with an injury this season / John Powell/GettyImages

These two players are at very different points in their seasons. Andy Robertson has spent a very long time on the sidelines, while Phil Foden seems to be playing better than he ever has before. You can never quite be sure with Guardiola, but the Englishman should start on the right which would put him up against Robertson.

Foden was by far the best player on the pitch when Man City beat Man Utd last weekend, bagging his 15th and 16th goals in all competitions in the 3-1 win.

Keeping the England international won't be an easy task for Robertson this weekend.

Wataru Endo vs Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne will be trying to pull the strings / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Considering the manner in which Wataru Endo arrived at Liverpool, it is incredible to think that he is involved in one of the most important battles in a game of this magnitude.

He came on against Nottingham Forest and is expected to be fit enough to start this match, having started in the Europa League against Sparta Prague on Thursday. Liverpool seem to have so much more control in the middle of the park when the Japanese international is on the pitch, and playing him allows Alexis Mac Allister to move further up the pitch and become a creator for the Reds.

Endo will have one primary job against City, and that is to limit the creativity of Kevin De Bruyne as much as he can. It is not an enviable task, with the Belgian looking to be back at his magnificent best in recent weeks.