Mamadou Sakho Is Right: Visit of Man City Is Biggest in Liverpool's EPL History

Matt LadsonFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool and Brendan Rogers the Liverpool manager celebrate their team's 2-1 victory during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on April 6, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

"This could be the biggest match Liverpool have played in 24 years," says defender Mamadou Sakho ahead of Manchester City's visit to Anfield on Sunday.

"You win three points but it’s worth a lot more," the Frenchman explains to the Mirror. "It is a match that will place the winner in the best position to win the title."

City will arrive at Anfield four points behind The Reds, with a game in hand. It creates a unique situation whereby, effectively, both teams have their fate in their own hands. If Liverpool win their five remaining games, they are league winners for the first time in 24 years. If City win their six remaining fixtures, they win the title for a second time in three years.

Therefore, Sakho would be correct in his assessment that it is Liverpool's biggest match in the 24 years since they last won the title back in 1990, although perhaps only when talking about league matches and removing European games in particular.

It would be quite an argument to suggest Sunday's match is bigger than the 2005 Champions League Final, for instance.

SPORT #LFC Mamadou Sakho reckons Sundays PL showdown with Manchester City will be Liverpool's biggest game in a quarter of a century.

— City Talk 105.9 (@CityTalk1059) April 9, 2014



MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Martin Skrtel of Liverpool steers the ball clear of Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on December 26, 2013 in Manchest
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The fact that City have won only once at Anfield since 1981—a 2-1 win back in 2003 under Kevin Keegan, as per Bleacher Report's City correspondent Rob Pollard—does work in Liverpool's favour. Especially given that the most recent big match between the two sides at Anfield was the 2012 League Cup semi-final, which Liverpool won 1-0.

In terms of the last time Liverpool faced a game of this magnitude in the league, we have to go back to the club's best Premier League season in terms of points in 2008/09. Rafa Benitez's side were outsiders for the title ahead of the trip to Old Trafford to face leaders Manchester United but were buoyed by having hammered European giants Real Madrid at Anfield a few days earlier.

A team inspired by Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard ran out emphatic 4-1 victors.

That season ultimately ended without silverware, but Gerrard will be drawing on those memories and experience in this season's run-in.



Similarly important will be the influence of the one player in the Liverpool squad who has experience of winning the Premier League title, Kolo Toure. The Ivorian was part of Arsenal's "invincibles" squad and the City squad who won their first Premier League title two years ago.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will know the role the 33-year-old can play during these crucial stages, as indicated by his late introduction at West Ham on Sunday to provide an experienced figure on the pitch as well as off it.

The likes of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel will also draw on their experience of huge Champions League pressure matches at Anfield during the Benitez era.

Michel Euler

Sakho too is a player who has experienced a match of huge significance recently. The defender incredibly scored twice and assisted the other as France overcame a 2-0 first-leg defeat to Ukraine in their World Cup qualifying play-off last November.

Sakho was the toast of France that night, and another similarly inspirational performance would see him being the toast of (the red half of) Merseyside this weekend.

The size of Sunday's match cannot be underestimated, and the players will know it when they walk out Anfield to the cauldron of noise that will be created.

Make Us Dream, Reds.