Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is in no doubt this evening’s Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City would be a great one to win.
However Rodgers has also emphasised it should not necessarily be seen as an indicator of how the clubs’ title bids might pan out.
The contest at the Etihad Stadium pits the champions – in City – and runners-up from last term against each other.
For each team it is only their second Premier League fixture of the 2014/15 campaign, and Rodgers feels the fact it comes so early makes it particularly significant in terms of needing to make a mark.
At the same time, though, he is not going to be reading too deeply into the outcome.
“Whatever time this game comes, it’s always very important – and for us, so early on, it’s even more significant,” Rodgers said.
“But I don’t think it will define everything. It’s over the course of the 38 games.
“We did reasonably well in the big games last season, but it’s over the course of the 38, and that’s something I’ll always look at.
“It’s early in the season and we started with a great win, and now to go and perform and hopefully get the result is what the aim will be.”
“We did reasonably well in the big games last season, but it’s over the course of the 38, and that’s something I’ll always look at” – Brendan Rodgers
Both Liverpool and Manchester City began their Premier League campaigns with victories, triumphing 2-1 against Southampton and 2-0 at Newcastle respectively.
Certainly neither found their best form as they each picked up the three points, and City boss Manuel Pellegrini said: “We played very well in the first 35, 45 minutes in all senses.
“Technically and physically we didn’t have any problems. We defended very well.
“But maybe in the second half we could not continue with the same pace.”
Pellegrini also closely monitored Liverpool’s performance against Southampton from earlier on the opening Sunday day.
He said: “I watched that game and we played them also in the United States (this summer in a pre-season friendly), so we know what they are doing.”
New City signing Eliaquim Mangala remains unlikely to make his debut tonight as he is still short of match fitness, but fellow defender Pablo Zabaleta could be back in line to start and loan midfielder Frank Lampard is available.
Striker Sergio Aguero, who came off the bench to score at Newcastle last week, may not be ready to play 90 minutes.
Former City striker Mario Balotelli will not be able to feature even if his proposed transfer to Liverpool from AC Milan goes through before the match, as it needed to have been completed by midday on Friday for him to be eligible.
Balotelli’s proposed switch to the Merseyside outfit appears to be imminent, with a £16million fee reportedly agreed and the Italy international having visited the club’s Melwood training ground on Friday.
There could be debuts for Reds summer signings Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno, but the wait for England midfielder Adam Lallana (knee) to make his bow will go on.