Pep Guardiola’s Man City are unbeaten in the Premier League
Given the form Pep Guardiola’s team are in, Barton believes they will never have a better chance of ending their dismal run in the red half of Merseyside.
And if they avoid defeat tomorrow, Barton is convinced they will go on to emulate the Arsenal Invincibles of 2003-04 by going through the entire Premier League season unbeaten.
“If they don’t end it now you would begin to think they are never going to do it,” he said. “When you look at their results, their form, the team they have got and the belief in the camp, it has got to be their best opportunity.
“City have got the League title sewn up, make no mistake about that. They are not going to lose five games out of the last 16 and remember their rivals would still have to have a perfect record from their remaining games.
“It is now a case of how many records they can break. When I look at the fixtures they have left the trip to Anfield is their biggest test. It won’t be easy because when Liverpool are good they are very good.
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If they don’t end it now you would begin to think they are never going to do it
“City have won at Chelsea and Manchester United and I don’t see them getting beaten at Arsenal or Tottenham. If they can get a win or a draw from Anfield people will seriously believe they can match that Arsenal side of 2004.
“If someone had said after that game 15 years ago that City would become a bigger club than Liverpool they would have laughed at you, thought you were mad. But that is a reality now. City are a European superpower and are only getting better.
“The irony is there were rumours Sheikh Mansour tried to buy Liverpool but was rebuffed because Liverpool thought it was a joke – and they ended up buying City.”
Although Barton acknowledges Liverpool have lost a “fantastic player” following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Barton thinks that if the £142m is spent wisely, Jurgen Klopp could end up with a better balanced team.
Joey Barton was part of the last Man City team to win at Anfield
“Klopp was struggling to fit Coutinho, Saido Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Adam Lallana into the same team. When they all played it left them exposed,” he said.
“Playing Georgino Wijnaldum gives them a better balance. I’ve played against Coutinho and he is a fantastic player, but he could be man-marked out of games.
“The money they’ve got from Barcelona allows them to build a better and more cohesive team. They’ve got the centre-half they needed in Virgil Van Dijk, they will get Naby Keita this summer – if not in this window – but they still need a goalkeeper and maybe another midfielder or two.
“The sooner they get the spine of the team sorted they will be able to challenge City better – but I don’t think it will be this year. It could take another couple of transfer windows before they can get the right players.”
Barton had just broken into City’s first team when Kevin Keegan’s men came from behind to win 2-1 at Anfield in May 2003, courtesy of two Nicolas Anelka goals.
“It was a special day and one I remember really well,” he said. “As a Scouser you always remember the first time you play at Anfield. I’m an Evertonian and earlier that season I had played at Goodison Park and scored for England Under-21s against Portugal. So it was a good start for me on the two Merseyside grounds – but that was as good as it ever got!
“I always remember lining up against Steve Gerrard – a Huyton lad like me. To have two lads playing from the same neck of the woods in a Premier League game was great.
“He had broken into their first team three or four years before I got into City’s team and was always a good example for me. We were up against each other and I remember we had a couple of challenges but they were fair. I always got on well with Stevie.
“And I remember an unbelievable save by Peter Schmeichel from Milan Baros at the Anfield Road End when it was 1-1. It’s probably the best save I’ve ever seen in my professional career.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will host Man City this weekend
“Anelka got a late winner and the result cost Liverpool qualification for the Champions League. It was a memorable day for City – I wasn’t even born the previous time they had won there [Boxing Day 1981].
“City’s record at Anfield over the years is not that surprising because for most of those years Liverpool simply had a better team. It’s only in recent years, since the Abu Dhabi money came in, that City have improved. It is a completely different club now to the one I joined as a kid.”
Barton however thinks the win City crave will still prove elusive.
“Both teams have proved they are capable of anything,” he said. “I don’t think City will win but I don’t think they will lose either. I think it will be a good entertaining draw.”
Source : EXPRESS