Manchester City's trip to Liverpool 'the toughest away game' - Ilkay Gundogan
Manchester City won't face a tougher game all season than Sunday's trip to Liverpool, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has told ESPN FC.
The Premier League champions suffered their only away defeat at Anfield last season in January and were then thrashed 3-0 in the first of their Champions League quarterfinal in April.
City have a terrible record at Liverpool, losing 12 of their last 17 visits, but Gundogan insists that the City players will be relishing the opportunity to end their dreadful run.
"It's very tough, probably the toughest away game of the season in the Premier League," the Germany international told ESPN FC. "But as a player there is not much more that you can achieve than playing these type of games, because when you play them or when the atmosphere is like that, you know it's a big thing.
"So there's nothing better than playing these type of games. Although you're much more nervous before these type of games than in others maybe, even then after your first successful pass, first successful tackle or your first good dribble, you get more and more confidence. This confidence helps you a lot to achieve your target."
City go into Sunday's clash with a slight lead at the top of the Premier League, just ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. But they have lost their last three games against their Merseyside rivals, conceding nine goals, and Gundogan warned they can't afford to make any mistakes with a forward line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino ready to punish any errors.
"You have to be careful because, especially their front three, any single mistake you make they can punish you so quickly -- so we have to be very careful," he added. "Last season we lost the game unfortunately at Anfield in the Premier League because of two or three mistakes in the game and they scored three times out of three mistakes.
"So that's the new target for this game: to leave these mistakes. We know we are always able to score, we scored already three times in the last season away which is also not normal to score three goals at Anfield and we will try to repeat and it can be a great game for us."
Gundogan, 27, is a doubt for the trip after suffering a hamstring injury which forced him off in Tuesday's Champions League victory over Hoffenheim. But the former Borussia Dortmund player is still hoping to catch up with his old boss Jurgen Klopp -- a manager he worked under for four years, winning the Bundesliga title and reaching a Champions League final.
"It's always special to meet him ... it's always very nice and I get a big hug from this big guy," Gundogan said. "We have a nice quick chat, unfortunately we don't have that much time to speak about stuff but it's always very good to see him because he's such a great guy, such a humble guy, and as manager he can show he'll be successful. I had a lot of success with him at Dortmund, so [he's] always good to be around."