25th August 2012
Liverpool could hardly imagine worse start to the Premier League campaign than the 3-0 defeat to West Brom in their opening game, but all they need for the mood to change is a victory over reigning champions Manchester City. That may be easier said than done given the quality of their opponents, but the Reds have no choice but to try and make amends for the dismal showing at the Hawthorns.
Expectations were high at Anfield when Brendan Rodgers arrived to the club this summer, with some of the fans started hoping the Reds would be able to enter the title race for the first time after quite a while. Little did they know that Liverpool would soon get a genuine reality check, as the 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich proved they are still a long way from becoming genuine title contenders. The Europa League victory over Hearts helped the players restore some of the lost confidence, but they now need a good result against City in order to ease the pressure after the disappointing start of the season. Everybody at the club was happy to hear that Liverpool have won the race to sign Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin on season-long loan from Real Madrid, but it is highly unlikely that he will be in contention for the City clash. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson return after they were rested in midweek, but Daniel Agger misses out through suspension.
Manchester City go into this game on a high after winning their first two games of the season, but things could have been different if they hadn’t shown plenty of character in the process. After coming from a goal behind to beat Chelsea in the Community Shield match, the Citizens did something similar by beating Southampton despite their opponents taking the lead midway through the second half. Roberto Mancini can certainly be satisfied with the team’s response in the aforementioned matches, but he will also demand improvement at the back after conceding no less than four goals in the process. On the other hand, City should be able to continue their scoring run even without Sergio Aguero, especially as their opponents will be without two starting defenders. Gareth Barry and Micah Richards are not yet ready to return into action, but Mario Balotelli could start his first game this season as he closes in on match fitness.
Liverpool have yet to prove they can match the best sides in the league and they will need to show a considerable improvement in order to get something from this game. Manchester City are scoring goals for fun at the moment and they can be trusted to triumph at Anfield even if their back line is not in perfect working order at the moment.
Verdict: Manchester City Draw no bet
Best Odds: 8/11