1 min: Liverpool kick off. They lose the ball quickly and City shunt it forward to Jesus. He tries to hold it up and wait for support, but Van Dijk steps in and takes the ball.
City trudge out of the tunnel, then split in two and line up on either side of it to welcome the champions. They are as glum-faced as youâ€™d expect. Liverpool make them wait. Then Jordan Henderson leads his men out. They resist smug smiles as City applaud just enough to respect the protocol. And with that, the formality is done.
Roy Keane is on Sky punditry duty, which means heâ€™ll be looking for any imperfections that he can attribute to a lack of moral courage. Not an easy man to impress, he nonetheless approves of Liverpoolâ€™s warm-up: apparently they have been â€œvocal and intenseâ€ as they limbered up, which suggests: â€œTheyâ€™ve come here to win. Itâ€™s set up to be a brilliant game.â€
Guardiola, asked whether he wants to win today to lay down a marker for next season, replies: In football life changes week by week. Of course we want a good performance against this team, but next season will be a new season with new targets.â€
Klopp explains his teams selection: â€œyou pretty much need the most experienced team for all the things that City ask you in a game. You need to play rather from your belly than from your brain. You need to do it instinctively right … You need to be ready to suffer in this game. If we are not brave in both departments – defending-wise and attacking-wise, we will not have a chance. I like these games.â€
Dejan Lovren, by the way, has been left out with a minor knock. â€œNothing serious,â€ says Klopp.
It looks like Liverpool mean business: theyâ€™re starting with what was become their classic lineup. So a big test is on the way for Eric Garcia, the 19-year-old who has recovered from the injury he suffered against Arsenal and slots back into central defence.
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy; Rodrigo, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Foden, Jesus, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Stones, Zinchenko, Bernardo, D.Silva, Mahrez, Cancelo, Otamendi, Doyle
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Fabinho; Salah, Firmino, ManÃ©
Subs: Adrian, Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Jones, Elliott, Williams
Referee: A Taylor
Hello. After a few days making merry in the grand old style, JÃ¼rgen Klopp takes his troops over to Manchester City today to thank them personally for losing at Chelsea last week. A 30-year quest has reached a glorious climax and all that remains is for everyone associated with Liverpool to check out the mugs on Pep Guardiola & Co as the deposed champions lay on a guard of honour for the new kings. Thatâ€™s the etiquette, apparently, and itâ€™ll be a moment to watch and enjoy. For the sake of good sport, itâ€™d be nice to think itâ€™ll generate bad blood.
What happens once the game gets going will be fascinating. League points donâ€™t matter any more because no accountant could make the maths work for City now; but thereâ€™s a moral point to be made: a chance for City to say: â€œYou may have won the title, but on our day weâ€™re still the better teamâ€. Or, on the other hand, for Liverpool to say: â€œWe took your title and now weâ€™re going to batter you in your own backyard. Just because we canâ€. Thatâ€™s the sort of attitude that Klopp says he wants to see from his men, who can still set more records this season if they really want to. So what we may have here are the two best teams in England going at each other with gusto, for honour not gongs. A duel of rare purity awaits.
Unless neither side are really bothered, in which case this will be a boring farce. Either way, itâ€™s on!