Manchester City's Vincent Company: Liverpool clash will be decided by small margins
Manchester City must be completely focused for 90 minutes because Sunday's crunch clash with Liverpool will be decided by small margins, according to captain Vincent Kompany.
City go in to the game top of the Premier League but only above their title rivals on goal difference. And Liverpool are boosted by the fact they have won the last three matches between the two sides following their 5-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium at the start of last season when Sadio Mane was sent off.
Despite Liverpool's more recent record of success, Kompany believes it was little details that settled each encounter and will prove decisive again.
"I think if you take all four games of last season, including the home game, it's a game of small margins," he told reporters. "You look at each and every game and there's not a lot of difference in terms of how the games happened.
"One game we were more efficient and scored five, the other game they scored three in what 15 minutes? And that's how these games seem to go.
"The margin is so small between both teams and a lot of things happen in a very short period of time. You have to make sure you can control this and be at our best on the day."
City also have a miserable record at Anfield, having won just once there in the last 37 years, and Kompany said they will need everything to go right if they are to leave with three points.
"These kind of games you need a lot of things to come together," he added. "You need a little bit of luck, a good performance, you need to be clinical and defend well and that goes for both teams.
"It's too close I think to actually make any big statements and that's what makes this game so interesting."
The clash has been billed as a battle between the two title favourites but the Belgium defender insists it's too early to write off their other rivals.
"I don't agree with just putting City and Liverpool as title contenders," Kompany said. "Chelsea have shown so much already this season. Arsenal, Tottenham are coming back.
"You'd think there'd be a bigger points gap by now but it's not. I think most teams at the top are firing on all cylinders at this moment in time and this makes this league exciting."
City go into the game with their Champions League back on track as they recovered from their shock opening day defeat to Lyon with a 2-1 win at Hoffenheim on Tuesday. Pep Guardiola's side fought back from conceding a first-minute goal in Germany and Kompany said it shows the character in the team.
"We needed to start this campaign. There's a lot of pressure on these kind of games when you play away in the Champions League after you've lost at home -- you couldn't think of a worse situation to be in and we dealt with it," he said. "And 1-0 after one minute as well, it has to be said. We had a lot of high hopes for this game and after 60 seconds you're thinking we need to pull ourselves together and we did that ever so well and created chances, possession, controlled the game against a dangerous team so it was a good game."