1. A striking duel between City and Chelsea
The fact that Manchester City are pursuing four trophies makes each one more difficult to claim, and the effort could take a toll even on Pep Guardiola’s lavish squad. Chelsea should be able to make Sunday’s fixture one of the most demanding yet for City this season, but Maurizio Sarri’s erratic side have been so bad in recent away matches – deservedly losing at Arsenal and Bournemouth – that there is no telling what sort of outfit will turn up at the Etihad.
With Gonzalo Higuaín looking sharp and Eden Hazard capable of bewildering Kyle Walker, Chelsea could, in theory, be even stronger than they were when they beat City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in December. Mind you, City squandered several chances to take the lead that day – and this time Sergio Agüero is available.
2. Liverpool need Firmino to find form
At his best, Roberto Firmino is the player who makes Liverpool tick. He is the pulsing brain behind many of their devastating attacks, sometimes knitting moves together in the false nine role, or creating space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané with clever movement off the ball.
Salah is the team’s undoubted star after scoring 63 goals since joining Liverpool two summers ago, but the front three would not work without Firmino’s intelligent promptings. Just look at how Jurgen Klopp’s team struggled when the Brazilian had a subdued game in the tense 1-1 draw with West Ham on Monday.