There’ll be no ‘easy Sunday morning’ this weekend, as we enter the final countdown for a fixture which is being billed as ‘the biggest of the year’ and the most important in the Premier League title race: Liverpool v City.
It’s a 4:30pm GMT kick-off so there is still a little time to wait… but you can while away the time with a bumper edition of Media Watch, as the footballing world cast their thoughts and predictions ahead of the mouth-watering Anfield clash…
Phil McNulty: “The stakes could not be higher in the Premier League context, with extra colour being added to the backdrop by what appears to be an increasingly fractious relationship between the two clubs on course to conduct English football's greatest rivalry, fought out at home and abroad, for years to come.
“Manchester City will have plenty to say about this, despite being underdogs and suffering from a series of key injuries, the latest being to goalkeeper Ederson. The Brazilian, not only an outstanding keeper but a key figure in City's possession game, will be replaced by 36-year-old Chilean Claudio Bravo, who has not featured in the league for 18 months.
“If City feel some of their achievements have been undervalued while lavish praise has been showered on Klopp and Liverpool after their Champions League triumph, then they have a valid point.
“City's excellence under Guardiola has almost been taken for granted in some quarters. They made history by winning the league in 2017-18 with 100 points then retained it last season, staying ahead of Liverpool by putting together 14 successive wins to maintain a one-point advantage.
“And this was also a team that made history by winning an unprecedented domestic treble of the league title, Carabao Cup and FA Cup. It is remarkable that this achievement seems to have been downplayed given its scale.
“It is a tribute to City's growth and consistency under Guardiola that it could be argued they have not had the credit they deserve for this feat.”
“Leaders Liverpool host Manchester City on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports, in one of the biggest Premier League clashes in recent memory.
“Anfield will be a cauldron of noise and anticipation, their fans longing to put a hand and four fingers on the trophy they've been without for nearly 30 years.
“If Jurgen Klopp's side win, they will open up a nine-point gap over City and will be eight clear of Leicester and Chelsea, who moved up to second and third respectively on Saturday.
“It would be the psychological victory they missed last term, when City beat them to the title by a single point. It would be theirs to win.
“All eyes will be on Raheem Sterling on Sunday when Manchester City travel to Anfield in search of a victory to close the gap on their title rivals - and they will need the former Liverpool man on top form to do just that.
“But Sterling has become used to making the difference in the big games now. The one-time Liverpool teen sensation is now a fully-fledged game-changer for City - and his stats prove he is now among the very best in the world.”
Manchester Evening News: How Man City should line-up against Liverpool FC
Joe Bray: “With so many players out, the team effectively picks itself at Anfield.
“Liverpool's forward line probably requires Fernandinho to start in defence, with John Stones alongside him after some good recent performances against Jurgen Klopp's men. Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy are the most in-form full-backs so their inclusion makes sense.
“It would be a risk to rush Rodri back too soon, and Ilkay Gundogan is perfectly adept at keeping things moving in midfield. If it's not working, Nicolas Otamendi can come on with Fernandinho pushing into midfield.
“With David Silva likely to be out, the only decision to make in Guardiola's front five is Jesus or Aguero up front. Aguero's record against Liverpool and big game experience gives him the edge in this one.”
View from the opposition
Jordan Henderson: “Of course they are an opponent we’ve had decent tussles with over the past couple of seasons in particular, both domestically and in Europe, but as a team here we have nothing but admiration for them.
“What they’ve achieved as a team is something that everyone in sport, let alone just football, can look at and appreciate. They are relentless winners who have found the hunger to go again and again.
“I think it’s important for a healthy rivalry that you can recognise someone else’s qualities and achievements without that leading to any sort of insecurity about what you’re doing yourself.”
Virgil Van Dijk: “We’re not looking too far ahead because we have only played 11 games and we know City are a fantastic team.
“But there was no panic last season when we were challenging for the title.
“I have no fear. You should not have any fear when you go out on the pitch.
“Fear is not something we feel at Liverpool. And after what we have done, we know that we have the quality to win any game.
“It will be a good challenge. City are the champions, with quality throughout the whole pitch, a clear plan, a fantastic manager, fantastic players – and are very difficult to beat.”
Fabinho: "We've played against this City team before and they've shown us what they're about,"
“They're great with the ball and they are hard-working, they're great in attack and all of this makes them one of the best teams in Europe today.
“But in the Premier League there are so many good teams and we've managed to play well in these situations as well. So playing City will be another challenge, but I think we're ready for it.”
From the players
Ilkay Gundogan: “There are so many games still to play. If Liverpool win, people will talk about how nine points is too many.
“If we win, people will say it's the start of the same charge we made last season when we overturned a big points difference to win the title.
“The truth is that it is far too early to tell. We have six months left to play in the most competitive league in the world and it just isn't possible to predict every result between now and the end of the season - just as people wouldn't have predicted every result so far.
“Only one point separated us last season and so it would be wrong to suggest that the result won't be important but it doesn't become more important than when we face Chelsea or Newcastle later in the month just because the spotlight is on this game.”
“Liverpool are currently top of the league, but our fans know that we fight to the end, every game, every season; some of the club's greatest moments have come about this way, and so Sunday will be important, but nothing is decided in November.
“Not many players will have the opportunity to play for both managers and so this is something I am very proud of.”
Alam Khan: “The images of Raheem Sterling taking selfies with Liverpool fans, signing autographs and giving away his shirt to them, at the end of the FA Community Shield in August spoke volumes.
“It followed Manchester City’s victory on penalties after a 1-1 draw, through his first goal in 10 meetings against the club he left in acrimonious circumstances four years ago – and whose supporters have since been largely unforgiving.
“Those pictured are among the many who perhaps now have a different opinion of Sterling to the one that has often seen him vilified at Anfield following the £49 million move.
“Impressive, inspirational displays for City and England have propelled the forward into Ballon d’Or reckoning as one of the world’s best players, while he has become a global sporting icon for his impassioned stance against racism.
“Sterling, 24, is determined not to lose focus. Nor be distracted by the gushing plaudits that have come his way for affecting change on and off the field.
“When he returns to Liverpool on Sunday he will be prepared for the toughest of tests against the European champions, who lead the Premier League holders by six points after an unbeaten start.”
“The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away from Barça for some time with Paris Saint-Germain having been heavily linked.
“But the Frenchman may have his sights set on the Premier League as Manchester City have now expressed an interest, according to El Desmarque.
“Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is reportedly a huge fan of Dembele's and thinks that, in his City side, the winger can reach the heights his potential promised.
“Guardiola is understood to see Dembele in the same light as Raheem Sterling of a few years ago - and will make it his mission to make sure he excels.
“It's thought that Barcelona will ask that City pay at least £86m if they want Dembele.”