Monday, May 29, 2023

Prediction: Manchester City vs Liverpool

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 31 Mar 2023


Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888sport

The international break is over and the season in leagues around Europe enters the final stretch. The upcoming week in the Premier League could hardly be more interesting, particularly for Liverpool, who face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday and Arsenal on following Sunday at Anfield, but first, they must take a trip to the Etihad this Saturday, where they’ll be hosted by Manchester City.

Neither of these teams is where their supporters want them to be this season, but make no mistake, this is still a proper Premier League blockbuster.

Manchester City

City may not be where they want to be at this point, but unlike Liverpool, they’re not too far either, and with a game in hand on league leaders Arsenal, they trail by seven points. There’s an 11-point gap behind them, separating the two sides of Manchester right now, and in all honesty, it’s hard to see United coming anywhere near the title yet, despite the significant progress they’ve made under Erik ten Hag. No, the race will stay open just between Arsenal and Manchester City, though it should be said that this game might play a big part in it if it doesn’t go well for the defending champions.

Still, Pep Guardiola’s team went into the international break with six straight wins in all competitions, showing formidable form. They beat Bournemouth away by 1-4, Bristol City away in the FA Cup by 0-3, Newcastle at home by 2-0, Crystal Palace away by 0-1, and the last two victories were particularly impressive: 7-0 at home in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against RB Leipzig, and 6-0 at home against Vincent Kompany’s Burnley in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.

Having disposed of Leipzig, City will face Guardiola’s former employers Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, with the first leg scheduled to take place on April 11th at the Etihad.

Team News

Guardiola has only one confirmed absentee for this game – forward Phil Foden, who is reportedly ill. However, the Catalan coach will anxiously await news regarding the availability of star striker Erling Haaland. The Norwegian sensation pulled out of international duty with a groin problem, but it’s believed he’ll be ready by Saturday.

Ederson Moraes will be in goal, that much is clear. Guardiola has been known to experiment with his lineups this season, particularly at the back, but in-form Nathan Ake should play in some capacity – probably at left-back, with Ruben Dias and John Stones pairing up in the heart of defence and Kyle Walker on the right. Rodri should start at the base of midfield, with Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne close by. If he starts, Haaland will enjoy the support of Jack Grealish from the left and probably Riyad Mahrez from the right. If not, it’ll likely be World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in his place.


Having fought for trophies on all four fronts down to the final seconds of the 2021/22 season and even won the two English cups, Liverpool are obviously nowhere near where they want to be this term, sitting sixth in the Premier League table at the moment with 42 points, the same tally as Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford in seventh and eighth, respectively, five points behind Newcastle in fifth, and seven behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. It should, however, be said that the Merseysiders also have two games in hand on Spurs, who have just sacked their coach and been informed that their sporting director has been banned from all football activities.

A desperate struggle to secure Champions League qualification awaits last season’s runners up, and despite their schedule being made a little easier by the exit from the competition at the hands of Real Madrid in the round of 16, it still came as a blow for Jurgen Klopp and his men.

Needless to say, Liverpool’s recent form has been far from good, showing no traces of consistency whatsoever. The six matches they played in all competitions ahead of the international break saw them lose 2-5 at home against Real Madrid, draw 0-0 away to Crystal Palace, beat Wolves 2-0 at home, destroy arch-rivals Manchester United at home by 7-0, lose 1-0 away to relegation-threatened Bournemouth, and Real complete the double over them, 1-0 in Madrid.

Team News

One of the few mitigating factors for Klopp and Liverpool this season is the fact that they’ve severely been hit with injuries, right from the start, down to the finish. The finish may not be here for another two months, but two youngsters, midfielder Stefan Bajcetic (groin) and defender Calvin Ramsay (knee) won’t play again before it comes. Midfielder Thiago Alcantara (groin) also remains out for the time being.

The big news at the moment is the return of Luis Diaz. The Colombian winger, one of the few players in a Liverpool shirt to have shown some resilience this term, has missed five months with a knee problem, but he is now back in team training and is expected to be available for the Etihad trip. The same goes for forward Darwin Nunez, who pulled out of Uruguay duty with an ankle problem, and defender Joe Gomez who had a recurring muscle problem over the last month or so.

Alisson Becker will be in goal, with Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate forming the centre-back partnership, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson cover the flanks. Fabinho will surely start in the middle of the park, likely joined by captain Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott. Diaz probably won’t start just yet, which means it’ll probably be Nunez on the left, and either Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino in the central attacking role. Alternatively, Klopp could go with Jota on the left and Nunez through the middle. Mohamed Salah will, as always, attack from the right.


Liverpool have often been able to cause problems for Manchester City in recent years, even at the Etihad. This time, however, the champions will seek to take full advantage of their ongoing consistency issues and hurt them as much as they can – and they certainly can. All in all, Liverpool will be lucky if they manage to get anything from the game, which seems unlikely.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 8/13

Bookmaker: 888sport


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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