Ahead of the highly anticipated Anfield clash between Liverpool and Manchester City, Trevor Keane from fantasy5live.com looks at three players that could outshine the big names of Luis Suarez, Yaya Toure and Daniel Sturridge.
With Steven Gerrard adapting quite brilliantly to new deeper lying Pirlo-esque role in midfield more and more dirty work is being done by the former Sunderland man. Harassing, chasing, winning the ball and getting forward at pace have become a regular occurrence for Henderson and once again on Sunday he will have a big role to play. The energy of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure is a massive part of the Manchester City play and if they are to get space then Liverpool will be punished. With Gerrard set to sit deeper, Henderson along with either Lucas or Joe Allen will be charged with denying the pair opportunities to get forward.
The 23 year old has matured into life at Anfield in the last 18 months and according to Whoscored.com averages an impressive 2.4 tackles a game, makes two clearances per game and manages one interception. These stats will no doubt increase on Sunday. The attacking part of Henderson’s game will also get a chance to shine and with 1.8 key passes a game, 4 goals, 7 assists and 1.5 shots City will be just as wary of the England man as they Liverpool are of Toure.
Just like Henderson has had to contend with the rejuvenation of Gerrard, Fernandinho’s dirty work has ensured that Toure has become one of the deadliest midfielders in Europe. The Brazilian has impressive defensive stats making 3 tackles a game, 2.2 interceptions and 1.7 clearances.
The 28 year old has formed an impressive partnership and understanding with Toure, his presence allows the Ivory Coast star more freedom on the pitch and City have benefitted to the tune of 18 league goals. The pair have won 20 of the 25 games they have started together and is no surprise that City have lost when one of the two has been missing.
The former Shakhtar man is going to busy on Sunday protecting his back four from the threat of Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez with their ability to roam along the front. In addition to those three there is also the potential for Philippe Coutinho to be in the mix as an attacking threat making for a potentially busy afternoon.
While much has been made of the Liverpool attack, Manchester City boast plenty of match-winning forwards with Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero in their ranks. Aguero is set to hand City a boost ahead of the game after winning his fitness battle and his speed, ability to shoot from anywhere and quick feet will make him a tricky customer.
Luckily for Liverpool, Sakho boasts good feet and speed not to mention a very physical presence. The former PSG man put in an assured display against West Ham last weekend in his first start of the year following injury and with a 92.2% success rate, one of the best in Europe for a defender, his calmness on the ball is crucial to the way Liverpool play. Sakho averages 7.5 clearances a game and with an average whoscored.com rating of 7.18 is the second best centre-back, after the free-scoring Martin Skrtel.