Lionel Messi may have already told Jurgen Klopp his Liverpool game-plan to defeat Man City

Liverpool are looking for their first victory at the Etihad Stadium since 2018.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Lionel Messi. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Lionel Messi. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Lionel Messi. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp will be putting his last-minute preparations to his proposed blueprint to ensure chants of Blue Moon are quelled.

Liverpool's manager scarcely needs reminding of the task that his side face against Manchester City. The Reds were thrashed 4-1 in the fixture only eight months ago. City have won 23 of their past home games. Liverpool haven't been victorious at the Etihad Stadium since 2018 - and it stretches back to 2015 in the Premier League. The odds are not in the visitors' favour.

Klopp has already warned the Reds they won't win if they play badly. He's also stressed that the visitors may not prove triumphant even if they play well such is the challenge of facing Pep Guardiola's side, who have won five of the past six top-flight crowns.

Yet belief is required. Liverpool are second in the table for a reason. They could well be at the summit if not for a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur that was shrouded in VAR controversy.

A clear game plan will be required. Plenty will feel it would be folly to try to match City. Pragmatism, although it may be against Klopp's instincts, could be sage. One thing that the Reds boast is attacking prowess in abundance. Speed, in particular, is what few teams cannot match.

Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez are both rapid, with Luis Diaz not far behind. Nunez heads into the showdown a transformed player from the meeting in April. On that occasion, all he could settle for was a 20-minute cameo. He was struggling in his maiden season at Liverpool, with January signing Cody Gakpo the preferred striking option to the £64 million arrival from Benfica.

But Nunez has made monumental strides in less than a year. He's now first-choice number nine when available and has already recorded seven goals. The 24-year-old also bagged three times for Uruguay during the international break. One of those was in a 2-0 victory over Argentina when he put on the afterburners to round off a swift counter-attack and wrap up the win.

After the game, Lionel Messi revealed his praise for the threat Nunez offers in such scenarios. “Uruguay are good at rebounding and playing in space on counter attack," the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner said. "They have excellent players for that like Darwin."

Indeed, Nunez also displayed how adept he is when hitting teams on the break in Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in August. Despite being down to 10 men following the sending off of Virgil van Dijk, Nunez came on the devastate the Magpies.

In fairness, it's not like Guardiola and his City troops won't be aware of Nunez's chief threat. They'll know that overcommitting could leave them vulnerable at times. Sometimes, however, the best strategies are the ones that simply cannot be stopped despite knowing exactly what is coming. As they say in boxing, speed kills and Nunez could be the one to land the hammer blow.