Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 21/10
This has all the makings of a Premier League classic, with two of England’s best sides going head-to-head at Anfield on Sunday. Manchester City are looking to win yet another league game, while Liverpool will have aspirations of becoming the first English side to inflict a defeat on City this season. The two are also looking to solidify their own respective places in the league, with three points vital.
Liverpool have managed to take an inconsistent start and turn it into a very strong season as they are currently battling near to the top of the league. After 22 games they have won 12 times and drawn eight games, while it is incredibly impressive that they have only lost twice this season, the second least in the league. The Reds have been outstanding in attack, with the side netting 50 goals this season. The likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have been in fine scoring form, and they will be the main threats on Sunday. However, as good as they are going forward, their Achilles heel is once against proving to be their defence. After 22 games they have conceded 25 times, the most of any top six team bar Arsenal. Klopp will need to find a way to plug the gap at the back, with the record-signing of Virgil van Dijk surely an attempt to do this, with the former-Southampton man hugely important to Liverpool’s chances of beating City. Klopp will look to try and keep the pressure off his defence in the same way they did when they beat Arsenal 4-0 earlier in the season. On that day, Liverpool kept the ball so much that their defenders barely had to make a tackle, with the Red’s attackers running riot. However, City will have other ideas, and it could prove to be a monumental battle of styles, with the two adept at keeping and utilising possession.
Mohamed Salah is reportedly back to full fitness, but Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson (hamstring), Alberto Moreno (ankle) and Nathaniel Clyne (back), while Daniel Sturridge faces a late fitness test.
Manchester City have been near perfect this season and they will be looking to continue the outstanding run of form that has seen them competing for four different trophies. In the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s team have won 20 of their 22 games, while they have drawn twice, and they are yet to lose. The 64 goals they have scored this season is by far and away the best in the league, while they have conceded the fewest goals too (13). However, their recent draw against Crystal Palace did show that they are not invincible, with the league leaders looking very blunt in attack on the day, while they could have suffered their first defeat of the campaign had it not have been for Ederson’s penalty save in the dying moments of the match. The 15 point lead they currently have at the top is one that has seen many write off every other side in the league, but Guardiola will have drilled it into his players that until they are lifting the trophy, anything can happen. Therefore, there will likely be no complacency from the players, with the Premier League renowned for its unpredictable nature. Despite playing away, City will look to dominate the ball with their incisive attacking able to cut apart any team, no matter how sturdy. Their forwards will relish the chance to attack Liverpool’s defence, with their backline the weaker half of their team. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling will likely be given their usual licence to roam on the wings, and Klopp will not want to see any of his defenders isolated against two of City’s outstanding talents on the flanks.
David Silva has been in Spain this week tending to personal issues, but it is likely he will be able to play some part in the game. Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus (both knee) remain on the sidelines, while Vincent Kompany may play some part in the game.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League games at Anfield against Manchester City (W 10, D 4).
Liverpool have won their last four games in a row against City.
No manager has more wins over Pep Guardiola than Jurgen Klopp (four wins, the same as Jose Mourinho).
The two sides have scored over 100 league goals between them (Manchester City 64 goals, Liverpool 50 goals).
In 44 Premier League games, the two sides have lost just twice between them (W 32, D 10, L 2).
This has all the makings of a truly classic Premier League encounter. The likes of Chelsea and Manchester United will be hoping that Liverpool can take points from City, allowing them to make up some ground and put pressure on the leaders. City on the other hand will want to brush aside yet another top-six side to reassert their dominance. With the two outstanding going forward and shaky at the back, this one could see a glut of goals.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 21/10
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