Mohamed Salah ready to return for Liverpool against Manchester City

Joe Gomez thanks Jurgen Klopp for managing emotional state during Liverpool injury lay-off

Joe Gomez thanks Jurgen Klopp for managing emotional state during Liverpool injury lay-off

Manchester United are also speculated to hold an interest but Guardiola was keen to remain focused on events on the field, with City facing a trip to a ground where they last won in May 2003.

Chelsea and current Premier League leaders Manchester City were thought to be interested in the defender over the past year, but Van Dijk chose Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool after a move broke down in the summer.

City's 5-0 win over Liverpool in September was the first time they had scored five or more goals in a game against the Reds since March 1937.

Manchester City is running away with the Premier League title, but each game the club plays still maintains a historic element to it.

A hostile reception is likely to lie in wait once more for the England worldwide, who has made tremendous strides under Guardiola and scored 18 goals in 29 matches this season.

Since losing 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur in October, Liverpool have gone 13 rounds without a loss and are unbeaten in 17 matches in all competitions.

Although Coutinho will no longer be able to provide the trio with ammunition, they still have the speed and guile to trouble Pep Guardiola's side at the back.

It's amusing isn't it - with what's going on at the top of the table, these games have actually become some of the most interesting ones. Fortunately for Man City, Guardiola manages like each game is his last, and the club won't lose sight of its goals by overlooking any opponent.

PAUL ELLIS  GettyImages
PAUL ELLIS GettyImages

It's this approach which Klopp will need his men to get right from the first whistle at Anfield, retaining and turning the ball over in order to deny City's ruthless midfield the chance to fall into their creative stride.

Liverpool will press City high early on, to stop them playing out of the back, but then settle in and drop deeper.

Salah, 25, has not featured for the Reds since scoring a brace in the 2-1 comeback victory over Leicester City on 30 December.

City's Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said his team would just focus on their own performance.

He has the work-rate and tenacity to give Salah a run for his money, though there is no room for error in the boiling cauldron of atmosphere that will be Anfield on Sunday.

Man City are 5/4 favourites, while the draw is 13/5. Sterling in scintillating form having netted 14 goals.

In a small snatch of conversation between two football fans late past year, an Arsenal admirer is consoled by his friend: "Don't worry!"

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