Pep Guardiola is preparing to go all guns blazing when his Man City side rock up at Anfield on Sunday.
City have stormed ahead of title rivals Liverpool in the table ahead of their crunch showdown, as the stuttering form of the defending champions continues.
And Guardiola is now looking to take full advantage as he considers switching his tactics to swamp Liverpool on their own patch.
Key to his thinking is the idea of reverting to a 3-5-2 formation, giving licence to the rest of the team to attack Jurgen Klopp’s side at will.
Those tactics have worked to good effect in previous fixtures against Liverpool, though Guardiola has tended to stick with his usual back four.
This time is different though, as the City boss feels three points are there for the taking, which would effectively knock Liverpool out of the title race barring a remarkable turnaround.
City peppered Liverpool’s goal in the first half of their Champions League quarter final second leg in 2019, and were incredibly unlucky not to be rewarded for their brave approach.
Guardiola chopped and changed his central defensive pairing last month, with John Stones, Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte all now vying for contention.
But after discussions with assistant coaches Rodolfo Borrell and Juanma Lillo, they have agreed all three players could now form the cornerstone of their strategy.
The trio featured in the win over Burnley, though with Laporte stationed at left-back and Joao Cancelo on the opposite flank, in what was somewhat of a dress rehearsal.
Cancelo – who has been a revelation this season – was allowed to push further up the field, and his contribution has led Guardiola to believe he could make a big difference at the weekend.
Liverpool have looked shaky at their core due to their ongoing injury problems, which has forced captain Jordan Henderson to deputise in defence, with his absence in midfield felt just as hardly.
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Much could depend on whether Sadio Mane returns from injury, but should he miss out, Cancelo will be given more freedom to roam into danger areas with City’s back three mopping things up behind.
The gap between the sides has also provided a cushion for City should their plan backfire.
But after seeing Man Utd play safe for the draw at Anfield, Guardiola would rather take his chances in the knowledge there has not been a better time to play Liverpool in recent seasons.
A win would see City stretch their lead over Liverpool to 10 points with a game in hand still to play, making the title pretty much theirs to lose.