Man City is going to encounter a dilemma. Jürgen Klopp triumphed in 2019, and Everton might aid Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City may need some Trent Alexander-Arnold-esque heroics to navigate a unique scheduling challenge made to look deceptively easy by Liverpool.

 

Liverpool’s 4-0 victory away to Leicester City on Boxing Day 2019 remains, even four years later, one of the greatest performances of

the Jürgen Klopp era. This was the side in first away to the side in second, but fittingly, given the extent of the Reds’ superiority over the chasing pack that year, it romped to a 4-0 victory.

 

The game will be best remembered for a masterclass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who set-up two goals before scoring himself,

just five days after the right-back and the rest of his teammates had been involved in a 120-minute Club World Cup final against Brazilian side Flamengo thousands of miles away in Qatar.

Given the difficulty of the fixture at the King Power Stadium,

and Liverpool’s commitments in the Middle East, many feared that Klopp’s side would suffer their first defeat of the season, but they navigated the test with deceptive ease.

 

The Reds’ 1-0 victory over Flamengo, thanks to an extra-time effort from Roberto Firmino,

sealed an international treble after the Champions League final triumph over Spurs and the UEFA Super Cup success against Chelsea earlier in 2019. Now, four years on,

Manchester City is looking to replicate that feat, having beaten Inter Milan in the continental showpiece in June and Europa League victor Sevilla in August.

 

While Liverpool is preparing to take on West Ham in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup,

City will be playing in Saudi Arabia, with the semi-final (against one of the round two winners) scheduled for Tuesday evening UK time.

And then, the following Friday, a day before their title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal go head-to-head at Anfield, Pep Guardiola’s men will figure in a third-place play-off or,

more likely, a final. If the competition pans out as expected, it will battle South American champion Fluminense for the trophy

 

Like Liverpool in 2019, it will be back in Premier League action five days later with a tricky trip to face an Everton side that has won three straight games, and four of its last five,

and scored five goals without reply across its recent games against Newcastle and Chelsea.

In what’s likely to be one of the best Goodison Park atmospheres of the season under the festive lights, it looks like an awkward fixture.

 

Ordinarily, you’d expect a side like City to come through with ease, but there have been moments

this season where Guardiola’s team has been unrecognizable following considerable player turnover in the summer.

Indeed, few expected it to be four points off the pace at this stage of the season.

 

Five days would appear to offer a decent rest, but the last two European sides to feature in the Club World Cup have required extra time to win the final, and the travel will take its toll too.

The question, then, is whether City shows the same authority as Liverpool, or whether it runs into more trouble.

While the meeting between Liverpool and Arsenal will of course dominate the headlines, this looks like another key title-race narrative in the Christmas period.

 

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