City's Merseyside show-down capturing imagination
- 08 April 2014 07:47
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
The build-up to Sunday’s pivotal Premier League clash at Anfield is already reaching boiling point in the media.
Both sides are brimming with confidence and theories are abound as to who will emerge triumphant in the battle of this season’s two top-scoring teams.
To begin with, we travel across to Merseyside where Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson believes the Anfield crowd will play their part in a game many believe will decide the destination of the title – though both teams face stiff tests in the games beyond this fixture.
Paul Joyce in the Daily Express writes: “City arrive on Merseyside on Sunday for a showdown that will shape the title race and which comes two days before the 96 fans who died at Hillsborough are remembered in a memorial service which this year marks the 25th anniversary of the tragedy.
“An emotional Anfield will be at its most vocal in support of Brendan Rodgers' side and test City's resolve in the process.
‘The crowd have been fantastic throughout,’ said Henderson. ‘They've been really, really good, supporting us the whole way. We've got to put on a good performance for them. for a win as the race for the title heats up.
‘I've said all along that we must take each game as it comes and obviously the next one is Man City. We must approach that like we have been all season.
‘We've got to work really hard like we have been and, hopefully, get the three points. We've got five games left. It's a big game, but so are the other four.’”
Across Stanley Park, former City defender Sylvain Distin is worried that the Toffees could inadvertently help their rivals towards the title – if his side beat the Blues in a few weeks’ time, though the Frenchman adds some Evertonians may accept defeat rather than help Liverpool win the League!
The Guardian’s Andy Hunter writes: “Everton's quandary is at present hypothetical and Roberto Martínez's team, one point behind Arsenal with a game in hand following their 3-0 win over Arsène Wenger's side, face a demanding run-in before City arrive at Goodison Park on 3 May.
“But the prospect has been discussed. Merseyside enjoyed its best ever month of league results in March with Everton and Liverpool boasting a 100% record from their combined 10 matches.
“The sequence continued on Sunday when Liverpool followed Everton's success with a 2-1 win at West Ham United that returned Brendan Rodgers' team to the Premier League summit.
“For Distin and Everton's players there is no dilemma; they are intent on marking Martínez's impressive first season as manager by qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 2004-05. For some boyhood blues working at the club, however, it is a different matter.
“The club's veteran, and astonished, central defender said: 'We've spoken about it with some of the staff and said 'What if we have to beat City to be in the Champions League but by doing that Liverpool win the league?'
'The funny thing is some people would rather we don't get Champions League as long as they don't win the league. It's mad! Personally I'd rather be in the Champions League. You can't miss a chance for that. It would be amazing for the city if both clubs made it. I think deep down both sets of fans would like it if both clubs were in it.’"
The Spaniard has been imperious in recent months and he is a player the Blues could ill-afford to lose at such a crucial stage of the season – but Pellegrini has confirmed Silva is carrying a painful knock – and has been for several weeks.
Write ESPN: “Manchester City midfielder David Silva is currently playing through the pain barrier as he struggles with an ankle injury that means he cannot train all week.
“City manager Pellegrini has revealed that Silva, 28, is carrying a knock, but is confident he will be fit enough to face Liverpool in Sunday's vital Premier League showdown.
“However, the injury has left Pellegrini sweating on whether or not the influential Silva will be available for the last seven games of City's season.
‘He's playing very well,’ Pellegrini is quoted as saying by Manchester Evening News. ‘And it's with double merit because he's playing with his ankle that he has to stop two or three days during the week.
‘It is very important at the end of the season to have high individual performances and he is one of our players who is in a very good moment.
‘He played the last two games without a problem and now we have a whole week before we play against Liverpool. So I don't think he will have any problems.’”
More comment, gossip and rumour tomorrow…