Sept 7 (Reuters) - Manchester City face Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as Premier League football resumes following the international break.
Liverpool’s restless midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been declared fit after submitting an unsuccessful transfer request in the summer and missing Liverpool’s opening five games with a back injury.
City midfielder and former Merseyside favourite Raheem Sterling will miss the game due to suspension but new recruit Kyle Walker returns after being sent off on his home debut against Everton.
Here is what fans have to say about their respective clubs:
Mark Bent, Manchester City season-ticket holder
“The performances have been a little mixed so far this season. The games have been stop-start and we haven’t seen anybody really want to play us. All three teams we have played so far have killed the game as much as possible, so it will be good to see a team come and have a go at us. It will give us a chance to see where we have improved since last season.
“The Liverpool games always have a good atmosphere in the stadium and it should be one of the most exciting games in the Premier League this weekend.
“I am tipping City to win, although I always say that. I think Liverpool will come and have a go, so that will suit us. With the attacking options that we have it should mean that we create plenty of chances. I’ll go with a 2-0 victory for City. The first goal is critical for us as we are a different team when we take the lead.
“It’s very important that we secure our first home win of the season on Saturday. If the target is to be champions in May then you have to look at winning every home game against any opposition. The Everton game was a missed opportunity.
“I like Liverpool’s Sadio Mane because he is very fast and direct and always looks a threat. He is a great outlet for Liverpool and City need to cut the supply to him to make sure that he has a quiet game.
“The international break does sometimes take it out of the players but with this being so early in the season I am hoping that there are no hangovers and the players are fit and ready to go. City have so many options, so if a player isn’t 100 percent then the squad should be able to cope.
“I had expected Alexis Sanchez to sign for City before the window closed. He would have been a welcome addition to the side. However, we do have quite an array of attacking options so I think we should be happy with the players we have got.
“I have been a City supporter since the 1980s so you certainly won’t catch me complaining about the talent we have at the club now.”
Peter Phillips, producer and host of The Kop Table Podcast
“I am feeling both excited and nervous ahead of the trip to Manchester City this weekend. We have started the season very well and played some attractive football.
“But City are the home team and will be expected to have a go at Liverpool so we have to hope our defence can hold strong against the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Those players are our biggest concern. When they are on top form they are hard to contain. I am hopeful that Jurgen Klopp will have a masterplan to counter the way City utilise their forwards.
“I am predicting a 2-1 victory for Liverpool on Saturday due to the fact that teams who come out against Liverpool usually get punished on the break by the pace of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. I’ll give City a goal, as our defence can sometimes be a liability.
“I’m very happy with the arrival of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the transfer window. He is still young and I think under Klopp he will take his game to the next level. He needs to find that consistency in the final third because that has been missing from his performances at times.
“I am also pleased that Liverpool’s owners made a clear stand on Philippe Coutinho and showed the club will not be rode roughshod over by the likes of Barcelona.
“I think once Coutinho is integrated into the team again then he will win the fans over. But the fans on Merseyside are smart and they will sense if he isn’t doing what is expected of him.
“To play for Liverpool is a privilege that millions of people around the world would give everything for and Coutinho should count his lucky stars that he is in such a position. Now it’s time for him to concentrate on rewarding the fans that pay their hard-earned money to watch their team every week.
“The current mood around Anfield is very optimistic. We have made a great start to our Premier League campaign and qualified for the Champions League. This obviously gives us confidence going into the game against City.
“I am expecting Liverpool fans to travel over to Manchester in droves and raise the roof off the away end at the Etihad once again. I’ll be watching the game on TV with my wife whilst honeymooning in Majorca.” (Compiled by Claire Louise Bloomfield; Editing by Clare Fallon; )