Liverpool’s shock defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion has undoubtedly left both the team and the fanbase reeling. With issues in both defence and attack, the Reds struggled to make an impact in the final third and suffered their second consecutive defeat at Anfield.
Now, the big dogs await and Liverpool will be hungry to bounce back. Manchester City will travel to Merseyside in hopes that they can keep their own blistering run going but Jurgen Klopp and his men won’t be ready for yet another home defeat, especially not against their title rivals.
The reigning Premier League champions did well to secure two new signings on the January deadline day. Liverpool announced the arrival of Ben Davies from Preston North End on a permanent deal, along with Ozan Kabak from Schalke.
Kabak could make his Liverpool debut against Man City on Sunday and he could be Klopp’s hidden weapon.
The man lauded as a “big talent” by Klopp has so much potential to be a huge coup for the Reds. They have been hammered by injuries to their backline this season and are currently without all three of their senior centre-back options. The biggest blow came when Virgil van Dijk ruptured his ACL early on this campaign, soon followed his partner Joe Gomez with another respective knee injury.
Klopp has promoted Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips to the first team in his hour of need, but three losses from their last five games speaks volumes for the Premier League champions. They cannot afford to keep leaking goals and dropping points or their chances of back-to-back titles will go from slim to non-existent.
A win over Man City today would be a huge result for Liverpool. It will allow them to close the gap and make the title competition a lot tastier. Kabak can help with this if Klopp selects him to start alongside Fabinho in defence.
According to WhoScored, the 20-year-old averages more accurate passes and more shots towards goal than Liverpool’s Williams and Phillips and whilst his main job is not to provide attacking impetus, it’s fair to say that Liverpool have missed the excellent passing and goalscoring ability of Van Dijk, and Kabak could help fill that void.
The Turkish titan established himself as a regular start for Schalke and has only missed one game due to not being selected. Kabak was suspended for four Bundesliga games and has started every other match this season.
Like Williams and Phillips, Kabak is a very young player but unlike that duo, he has plenty of experience at the top level and if he is fully fit, he should slot straight into the team alongside Fabinho, thus allowing Jordan Henderson to get back into midfield.