- Liverpool face Manchester City in a possibly season defining clash on Sunday
- City can cut the gap to three points but must first end Liverpool’s home rampage
- Jurgen Klopp’s side have won 35 of their previous 45 Anfield games – losing none
- Pep Guardiola hasn’t won at Anfield but has a strong record away at the top six
- City seek just their second Premier League win at Anfield to peg Liverpool back
Liverpool face Manchester City in a possibly season-defining clash at Anfield on Sunday
Jurgen Klopp’s league leaders are defending a remarkable 45 game unbeaten streak at Anfield
Pep Guardiola faces a daunting task to guide City, who already sit six points behind, to victory
Andy Robertson has never lost at Anfield – playing 46 games at home since arriving in 2017
Liverpool’s talented front three have been one of the key reasons for their astounding run
Joel Matip opened the scoring for Liverpool when they defeated Arsenal back in August
Liverpool beat United 3-1 last December which proved to be Jose Mourinho’s final game
Mohamed Salah hit a stunning strike from long range to help his side defeat Chelsea 2-0
It has been just over 900 days since Liverpool lost a Premier League or European game at Anfield. It is an extraordinary record that has been the foundation of the club’s climb to the summit of domestic and continental football under Jurgen Klopp.
Christian Benteke was the last man to silence the home fans at Anfield in the league when he came back to haunt his former club with Crystal Palace in April 2017. That result briefly put Liverpool’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League in doubt but Klopp’s side rallied, finished fourth and went on to reach the final in Kiev a year later.
Around two and a half years have passed since that day and Liverpool are now European champions and sit six points clear at the top of the Premier League after an almost flawless opening 11 games of the season.
Liverpool’s home stats in the league since their 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in April 2017
Manchester City are the next opponents to arrive on Merseyside looking to breach Liverpool’s fortress but, with 35 wins from their last 45 home games in the Premier League, the Reds are enjoying home comforts and show no sign of stopping soon.
Previous Liverpool title challenges have been derailed by sloppiness at home.
There were seven home draws in 2008-09 when Rafa Benitez came so close to winning the trophy that has eluded the club since 1990 while a draw and two defeats in 2013-14 cost Brendan Rodgers.
Perfection has been required over the last 18 months to keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s relentless City side and that is exactly what Liverpool are providing, particularly at home.
Since that defeat to Palace, Liverpool have gone on to win 35 of their 45 Premier League games in front of the Kop. They have drawn the other 10 and lost none.
In those games the Reds have scored 117 goals, blowing away almost every team that they play. The start of their perfect home form coincided with the arrival of Mohamed Salah in the summer of 2017 and the birth of Klopp’s famed front three.
The Egyptian’s knack of scoring goals on home soil and his interplay with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino has been one of the key reasons they have gone unbeaten for so long. Liverpool never seem to be out of a game and late goals against Everton, Tottenham and Leicester recently show belief is sky high at Anfield.
Salah has scored 50 goals in just 59 appearances at Anfield in all competitions while attacking partner Firmino has played 99 games at Anfield in all competitions under Klopp, more than any other player.
The Brazilian rarely gets the plaudits of Salah and Mane but he is the heartbeat of their front three and the glue that links them together.
Defensively the Reds also have an air of impenetrability about them. The expensive acquisitions of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, as well as the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson on the flanks, turned them into genuine contenders for major trophies and have allowed Klopp to build a cohesive unit at the back.
Robertson has played 46 games at Anfield in all competitions without ever being on the losing side and he is the embodiment of what Klopp’s Liverpool side is all about. Fabinho, who shields his back four so well, has also never lost a home game for Liverpool in the league or Europe.
Since that Palace defeat, the Reds have conceded just 25 league goals at home while Arsenal (45), Chelsea (39) and Manchester United (39) have let in significantly more. They have also faced 299 shots in those 45 matches, second to only City’s 275.
It is not just domestically they are proving to be too strong at home though. Liverpool’s runs to the last two Champions League finals have seen some of those classic European nights at Anfield along the way.
City were blitzed in the quarter-finals in 2017-18, as were Roma a round later, while last season’s late win over Paris Saint-Germain and the miracle against Barcelona was the definition of the team Klopp has created.
Returning to domestic matters though and perhaps most daunting for Guardiola will be Liverpool’s home record against the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’. Since the start of the 2017-18 campaign, none of the league’s top teams have left Anfield with all three points.
In the 12 matches they have played against their biggest rivals Liverpool have won eight and drawn four, scoring 28 goals and conceding 11. Guardiola has not seen his City side win in his four visits to Anfield, where the club have been victorious just once since 1981.
They came closest to ending that run last season when Riyad Mahrez squandered an opportunity to seal City’s first victory at Anfield since 2003 by sending an 85th-minute penalty into the Anfield Road End. Leroy Sane was fouled by Van Dijk, with Mahrez taking the spot-kick as usual penalty-taker Sergio Aguero had been substituted.
Since the start of 2017-18
That draw came after City were swept aside 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Anfield in 2017-18 while the Reds dealt City their first Premier League defeat of that same campaign when edging them in a seven-goal thriller.
The two teams have met on Merseyside 22 times in the Premier League with the Reds coming out on top on 15 occasions.
City have won just once and that will need to change if they are to have any chance of cutting Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table on Sunday.
One thing in City’s favour though is Guardiola’s impressive record away to the big six during his time in England. The Spaniard has won eight of 15 matches on the road against their biggest rivals, losing five, but failure to leave Anfield victorious so far will be eating away at him.
During his first interview as Liverpool manager in 2015, Klopp described Anfield as ‘the most special place I’d been’. In his four years in charge he has returned the iconic stadium to one of football’s great theatres and one place opposition teams just cannot seem to conquer.