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Man City vs Liverpool: Jamie Carragher assesses the big clash on this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast

Listen to Jamie Carragher discuss Man City vs Liverpool on the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast. Also on the show: an exclusive interview with Steve Bruce, and analysis of Chelsea and Leicester. Watch Man City v Liverpool live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

The Premier League's dominant sides over the past couple of seasons go head-to-head on Sunday when Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad live on Sky Sports. But who will come out on top?

Ahead of the mouth-watering match-up, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher joined the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast to analyse both sides and how their showdown on Sunday could go.

He also explained why he believes these two teams will once again be the ones fighting it out for the Premier League title come the end of the season, and weighed up selection issues for both sides...

Listen to Jamie Carragher on the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

Will the Premier League title race be between Liverpool and Man City once again?

Carragher: "I still can't envisage anyone besides Liverpool or Man City winning the league. I just can't see that. I know Tottenham have started really well and I hope they have a great season and there are more challengers, but I just can't see anybody else lifting that league title besides the big two of the last few years.

I just can't see anybody else lifting that league title besides the big two of the last few years.
Jamie Carragher

"I'd been very strong putting Liverpool as favourites for the title, but for the injury to Virgil van Dijk - not just one of Liverpool's top players but one of the top players in the Premier League. And if something similar would have happened to, say, Kevin De Bruyne for Man City, who is their top man, I think you'd say the same for City. I think it makes for an even more interesting race, no doubt about that."

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Gabriel Jesus returned from a thigh injury to score for City in the Champions League. How important is it they have a player like him - a true striker, a goal poacher - as the focal point of their attack?

Image: Gabriel Jesus made a goal-scoring return from his thigh injury in midweek

Carragher: "I think they do miss it, there's no doubt. Even in Pep Guardiola's first season, when it didn't go as well as he'd have wanted, he always spoke about what happened in the boxes and that City weren't good enough in both boxes, really.

"Between the boxes they're the best team in the Premier League by a mile, in terms of keeping the ball away from the opposition, actually creating chances - but are they clinical enough? You actually look at the goal record this season and it's not normally what you'd associate with a Pep team. They're maybe not creating as much but you'd still fancy them to create chances in games.

"What's possibly let City down - not in terms of actually scoring goals, they scored more goals than anyone last season - but being really clinical and putting a certain percentage away that they create, and also being strong enough in the defensive box as well."

Speaking of City's defence, is Ruben Dias the answer alongside Aymeric Laporte at centre-back?

Carragher: "I've liked the look of Dias since he's come in, he looks a great size when you think of the Premier League and what you need. And Laporte, we all know is a top player, it's just getting together and playing longer, creating a partnership, there's no doubt about that. But in terms of individually, Dias looks a really good player, good age to bring in as well. It looks as though, in these early stages, they've recruited well in that position."

Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have come in at centre-back and performed well for Liverpool and Joel Matip is back fit too. Who will play alongside Joe Gomez on Sunday?

Liverpool defender Joel Matip was injured in the 2-2 draw at Everton
Image: Liverpool defender Joel Matip was injured in the 2-2 draw at Everton

Carragher: "I think he'll go with Matip, the big-game experience, and he wasn't shy in putting him straight in against Everton, as well, another tough game for Liverpool away from home.

"The only thing is fitness and playing games, but I don't think that's ever really been a problem for Matip because he's injured so often he's always in that position where he's coming back without having had the full training programme or games under his belt or a pre-season because he is very injury prone.

"I actually think Matip has possibly been ready for the last game or two and the manager has almost kept him in reserve for the City game and making sure he's got two recognised senior centre-backs for that City game. I fully expect Matip to play in this game."

There's another selection dilemma in attack for Liverpool - should Jota or Firmino start against City?

Diogo Jota scores for Liverpool against Atalanta in the Champions League
Image: Diogo Jota has been in superb form for Liverpool

Carragher: "Jota's form warrants a start, you can't argue about that, but I just think the manager will go back to Firmino, the way they've set up before.

"I think Firmino this season, he's not been at his best, there's no doubt. I don't think he was at his best last season. But they've always performed in the big games - Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea. That's when teams play out from the back and that's when Bobby Firmino is a huge part of that press and winning the ball back and almost not letting teams get out of their own half.

"That was certainly the case in those three games I mentioned, those teams really struggled to get through the press of Liverpool.

I think Jurgen Klopp will know that Man City want to play out from the back and he'll go with his pressing machine.
Jamie Carragher

"I think Jurgen Klopp will know that Man City want to play out from the back and he'll go with his pressing machine. There's no doubt Jota can do this as well, 'he's a pressing monster', that was the description of him from Pep Lijnders, Jurgen Klopp's assistant, so there's no worries about him on that score.

"But I just think for this game and the type of game it will be and the fact that Bobby has played so many games against Man City and Liverpool have had success in those games, I just think he'll go back to that."

So, what's your big match prediction?

Carragher: "I think there will be goals. I just can't see Liverpool keeping a clean sheet, or City for that matter. I do think it will be a great game.

"I know City wiped the floor with Liverpool last time at the Etihad but Liverpool had some real big chances in that game, certainly at 0-0 and 1-0 and on another day could have got back into the game but it just showed what City can do, it just shows the quality City have, how they can play and the great footballers that they've got. That can happen to anyone.

"I'm going to go 2-2. Sitting on the fence but predicting will get goals - it should be entertaining."

Pitch to Post Preview: Jamie Carragher on Man City v Liverpool; Steve Bruce on Callum Wilson; Chelsea's title chances assessed

Jamie Carragher and Steve Bruce are among the guests on this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast.

Sky Sports pundit Carragher joins Peter Smith and Adam Bate to look ahead to the big Super Sunday clash between Man City and Liverpool, while Steve Bruce is on the line to discuss Newcastle's Friday Night Football trip to Southampton and the form of star striker Callum Wilson.

Also on the show, we analyse how Chelsea have turned around their defensive problems, how Leicester have coped with injury problems, and Adam makes a bold Pitch.

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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