The Hard Tackle lists three players who can positively impact the game when Manchester City and Liverpool clash on Saturday.

The dreaded international break is behind us, and club football has resumed across Europe. In the Premier League, the 2023/24 season will continue on Saturday, with Gameweek 13 kicking off with a blockbuster clash when Manchester City and Liverpool lock horns at the Etihad.

Manchester City began the 2023/24 season slowly, with the loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, in particular, stinging. But they have recovered well in the last few weeks, going on a four-game unbeaten streak. Such a run, coupled with sub-par results for their rivals, has helped the reigning Premier League champions to rise to the top of the standings.

As for Liverpool, the Reds have been excellent thus far this term. No team has suffered fewer defeats in the Premier League this season, with Jurgen Klopp’s men being the most in-form side in the top flight this term. The visitors also have the best defensive record and the second-best attack.

Manchester City and Liverpool have set the benchmark for quality and consistency in the Premier League in the last few seasons. They also have the two best managers in the top flight — Klopp and Pep Guardiola. So, the clash of the titans will have little margin for error, meaning individual brilliance can tip the scales. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence Saturday’s clash.

Dominik Szoboszlai

Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland are the obvious picks for such a feature. But while the duo will hold the key for their teams, we have gone ahead with three other players. Our list begins with Liverpool’s playmaking sensation Dominik Szoboszlai.

The Hungary captain has done wonders since joining Liverpool, earning plaudits for his displays in the last few months. Pundits have even drawn comparisons with Steven Gerrard, a big compliment for a midfielder representing the Merseyside club.

Despite being new to the Premier League, the 23-year-old has had no teething problems. His vision has alleviated the levels from the central areas, while his set-piece deliveries will also hold the key. But Szoboszlai also puts in the effort off the ball, which should help keep Manchester City at bay at times. So, if he rises to the occasion, Liverpool will be in good stead at the Etihad.

Julian Alvarez

From one of Liverpool’s most important attackers to one from Manchester City, our list features a World Cup winner. The next pick is Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland’s strike partner, who has stepped up his performance levels this season.

The 23-year-old has often outperformed even Erling Haaland, making his mark with his movement on and off the ball. In addition, his finishing prowess makes him a difficult customer for the opposition defenders, and he already has seven goals thus far this term.

Meanwhile, Alvarez has shown quality in set-piece situations, taking charge of free-kicks for Manchester City this season. So, the Argentine international will hold the key for the home side against Liverpool with his exploits this weekend, helping take the pressure off Haaland.

Alisson Becker

While offensive output will be crucial to Liverpool’s hopes in this big game, they also need to hold the fort at the back to frustrate the home side. So, that brings Alisson Becker into the equation, with the Brazilian goalkeeper’s performance being critical this weekend.

Alisson has singlehandedly earned many points for Liverpool since arriving from AS Roma. His game awareness and positioning inside the box often make it almost impossible for the Reds’ opponents to get past the Brazilian international.

In addition, Alisson’s ability on the ball enables him to build play from the back, releasing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas as he links up with Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate. So, the 31-year-old will have a multi-faceted utility for Liverpool against Manchester City on Saturday.

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