Liverpool v Manchester City, Salah v De Bruyne, Klopp v Guardiola.
This highly-anticipated, all-English Champions League quarter-final presents all manner of pre-match talking points, with two of Europe’s most attack-minded teams preparing to face off.
Here are four things to consider before kick-off…
It will not be boring.
The very nature of each manager’s philosophy prevents that.
Pep Guardiola acknowledged as much in his pre-match press conference, suggesting City’s style is ‘perfect’ for Liverpool, but don’t expect the Blues to set up to defend.
And that’s what makes this game so intriguing.
There will be goals, not least of all because you would expect Guardiola to place great value on an away goal that may prove to be so important in the return leg.
Take your pick as to who may take responsibility for which way this game swings.
Kevin De Bruyne is perhaps the obvious pick for City, but Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling could quite easily be tormenters in chief for the Liverpool defence, while the combination of Gabriel Jesus’ full-throttle approach and his ability to sense goalscoring opportunities allay any fears over Sergio Aguero’s absence.
In red, much of the attention will be on Mohamed Salah – a man City will definitely need to contain – but Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are equally as dangerous.
There are precocious talents on both sides and it will be interesting to see who rises to the top in the high-octane environment of a Champions League quarter-final.
The mercurial Spanish playmaker watched from the substitutes bench as City fell to a first Premier League defeat in January.
And what a difference he could make if selected to start on Merseyside.
His effortless composure on the ball means he’s unlikely to be ruffled by Liverpool’s high-intensity pressing style and that calmness could be crucial to City’s chances.
He’s capable of taking the sting out of the game, but equally we cannot forget his attacking impact.
Silva will be at the heart of City’s best play, dictating proceedings and picking the passes which will allow those ahead of him to exploit any gaps in the Reds’ defence.
His quality – he has been outstanding this season – is such that his inclusion could make the difference this time.
4Point to prove
In the grand course of a Premier League season which City have dominated, January’s defeat at Anfield did little to dent our title aspirations.
But such is the competitiveness of professional footballers, it will no doubt have rankled.
Both teams have been lauded this season and rightly so, but the 4-3 defeat was a blot on City’s near unblemished record and Wednesday evening’s clash is the perfect opportunity to erase it from memory.
Also consider our Anfield hoodoo.
As we’ve written in this feature countless times before, this would be a perfect time to consign that to history.