Sunday's meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City was always going to be a tasty affair, but things ramped up a notch on Friday after Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola engaged in a mini war of words in their pre-match press conferences.
Billed as a title-deciding fixture before the season had even started, a win for City would move them ten points clear of Liverpool with a game still in hand - and Klopp's side could drop out of the top four if results elsewhere go against them.
Liverpool have obviously not been at their best this season, with Klopp often putting their sloppy form down to fatigue, and in his press conference, he suggested that City would be better prepared for the game because they could use their enforced break earlier in the season to recover.
"We need to play football, recover, train, recover, using each single minute you can get to recover," he said. "We didn't have a break, I think City had a two-week break for COVID reasons.
City actually had one week off over the New Year period after a number of their players tested positive for the virus, forcing the Premier League to postpone their meeting with Everton, and Guardiola urged Klopp to look at the facts before making claims like that.
"Jurgen has to see the calendar again," he said. "We had COVID, one week off and played with fourteen players in Stamford Bridge.
"Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it was three weeks, or four weeks. When I see Jurgen, maybe I will ask. I'm surprised. I thought Jurgen wasn't that type of manager."
Is there anything better than press conference drama?
City will come into the game as heavy favourites. Guardiola's men are currently on a 13-game winning streak in all competitions, whereas Liverpool have won just five games across the same period.
Wednesday's shock 1-0 defeat to Burnley left Klopp and left-back Andy Robertson fearing that Liverpool were already out of the title race, and defeat against City on Sunday may well leave them with too much ground to make up.
Source : 90min