Manchester City host Liverpool on Sunday in a match that could go a long way in determining if the two sides are able to snag a spot in the top four. City are coming into this one after crashing out of Champions League at the hands of Monaco, while Liverpool enter the match on the back of a couple important wins in the league. City's defense has been awful, and Liverpool's away form has been atrocious, so this one could go in any direction.
But who needs a win more?
The case for Manchester City
Manchester City just came off a crushing loss to Monaco in Champions League, and now starts a tough run of fixtures that would decide whether they're in the European tournament next year. Pep Guardiola's been honest about the struggles his team have faced and what they've gone through this year, but it doesn't change the fact that his City side are struggling. A lot. City have a terrible defense, and their confidence as a unit looks to be at a season low. Despite having a game in hand on the Reds, a loss to Liverpool could start an unwanted slide out of the top four and, legitimate issues or not, City expect to be in the Champions League. They need a result.
The argument for Liverpool
Liverpool started this season Red hot (please direct all pun complaints to management), but they cooled off wildly after the new year. Now, they're on a little run of results, and they need to keep it up to maintain hopes of finishing in the top four. City are a point ahead of Liverpool and have a game in hand on them, while Arsenal are five points back, but have two matches in hand. Taking all three points in this one is top priority for Jurgen Klopp and Co.
Not only is this one important for Liverpool to keep pace with the top four, the Reds need to win this one to turn around their awful away form. If they can come into Manchester and grab a victory, it could just set up a powerful run in the final stages of the season.
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The verdict: Manchester City
Manchester City really really have to win this one. Their defense is a shambles, they just got knocked out of Europe, and Guardiola's boys need a result in front of their own fans after Wednesday's capitulation. As much as Liverpool need an away victory, another loss and City could be approaching desperation mode considering their upcoming opponents. It's do or die for the Blues.