Liverpool v Manchester City: City braced for Anfield passion play

Liverpool's ground will be at fever pitch for pivotal title battle as Vincent Kompany faces fitness fight after freak training injury

Manchester City insist they are ready to cope with the hostility which the Anfield crowd will direct at them today as Liverpool attempt to take a giant step towards securing their first title since 1990.

Liverpool's famous ground will be at fever pitch, with their manager, Brendan Rodgers, calling for the passion of the home supporters to be unleashed on the visitors.

A further layer of emotion will be added by the proximity to next week's 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. A minute's silence will be held for the dead today as the Kop hold up a mosaic spelling out "96 – 25 years", while there will be a commemorative patch with the words: "Never Forgotten" in the centre circle.

City will be desperately hoping that Vincent Kompany will be there to lead them out. The Belgian limped out of training yesterday after injuring his leg in a collision with Micah Richards. His fitness will be assessed this morning.

Today's match is pivotal, with both teams in a position whereby victory in all their remaining games will clinch the title. However, City, who will fall seven points behind Liverpool – with two games in hand – should they lose, believe they have the mental strength and experience to deal with the occasion.

Their Brazil midfielder Fernandinho yesterday drew a parallel with the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions' League. In 2005, the year Steven Gerrard lifted the European Cup in Istanbul, Fernandinho was part of an Atletico Paranaense side that made the final, and he said he will draw on that experience.

"When you play in the Copa Libertadores, if you go to Paraguay, Argentina and Ecuador, you get attacked from all sides with sticks, stones and posts as you approach the stadium," he said. "When I was in Brazil, we went to play against Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro. Access to the stadium was via a very tight road, just enough for a vehicle to go in, and we got a massive stone thrown at our bus.

"We were not allowed to warm up on the pitch, we had to warm up in a cement area that looked like a cinema. They did all sorts of tricks but we still won what was a very important game. These things happen and, when they do, they create more motivation in our group. What is important is that we are focused enough not to be affected by outside events,'' he said while promoting EA Sports 2014 World Cup demo.

''Our team is old enough, prepared enough and experienced enough to know how to deal with this situation. If you are properly prepared, you can block everything out."

City's manager, Manuel Pellegrini, rejected the suggestion that, since Mourinho has conceded the title and Rodgers was never expected to take Liverpool this far, he is the man under pressure.

"I don't think it's true," he said. "Maybe they are covering themselves if they don't win the title. This profession is about pressure. I don't know what [Liverpool's] players think but I am sure that if I said to my players that we don't have any pressure to win because this is only my first season in England, well, I don't think that would work."

Pellegrini does not discount Chelsea winning the title but, perhaps because he dislikes Mourinho and perhaps because he has always believed in attacking football, he argued that it would be bad for the game if Chelsea, who have scored 19 fewer goals than City and 25 fewer than Liverpool, became champions.

"It would be very disappointing for football, for the fans and for everyone," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test