This weekend sees the matchup between the two teams in the Premier League that have, over the last two years at least, been the standout teams in the competition. Champions Liverpool will take their patchworked defence down the M62 to take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the Etihad in what will likely be one of the defining games of the Premier League season.
Despite having had a poor start according to some pundits, and seeing their defence decimated with injuries, Liverpool still sit at the top of the Premier League table after seven games with 16 points, a point ahead of Leicester City. In contrast, Manchester City lie 10th in the table with 11 points, having played just six games so far this season. A win for City would move them two points behind Liverpool, but they would have a game in hand.
However a win for Liverpool would see the Reds extend their lead over Man City to eight points, albeit City would still have a game in hand.
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Let’s now preview the big game taking place on Sunday in Manchester.
Manchester City v Liverpool – Preview
Premier League Records
- Man City – Played 6, Won 3, Drawn 2, Lost 1, For 9, Against 8, Points 11 – 10th
- Liverpool – Played 7, Won 5, Drawn 1, Lost 1, For 17, Against 15, Points 16 – 1st
There are two issues that have been a concern for Manchester City this season. They have dropped points in half their Premier League games this time around and their attack has mustered just nine goals in their six games, which is well below the number they would usually expect to score. Howeverm key injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero has hampered City’s attack although Jesus returned to first team action in midweek with a goal in the Champions League.
Rather than attack, Liverpool’s main issue has been in defence with injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Joel Matip meaning Joe Gomez is the only fully fit first team central defender, which has seen Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams deputising in Premier League and Champions League games respectively. However, since Van Dijk’s injury, Liverpool have won all their games and while they are still conceding too many goals (15 is just one fewer than the worst defensive record in the Premier League) their attack with summer signing Diego Jota is showing real signs of getting back to form, especially after their 5-0 win over Atalanta in Italy in the Champions League in midweek.
Manchester City v Liverpool Team News
The great news for City fans is that both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus could well be fit for the game with Liverpool at the weekend, with Jesus likely to be the one nearest full fitness. That could see summer signing Ferran Torres moved back ontp the bench or into a different role.
Liverpool defender Joel Matip is also close to a return but it remains to be seen whether Jurgen Klopp will risk him for this game. Fabinho, van Dijk and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be absent and it is touch and go whether Thiago is fit enough to be involved. Jurgen Klopp also must decide whether in form striker Diego Jota, who netted a hat trick against Atalanta starts again ahead of usual first choice striker Roberto Firmino in a new look Liverpool front line.
Man City Possible XI – (4-3-3) – Ederson, Walker, Cancelo, Laporte, Dias, Rodri, De Bruyne, B.Silva, Sterling, Jesus, Mahrez.
Liverpool Possible XI – (4-3-3) – Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Gomez, Matip, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Salah, Mane, Jota
Manchester City v Liverpool – History
The last ten games between the two teams have seen them win four games apiece, with two draws. City have landed two big wins at home in that period, 5-0 in September 2017 and 4-0 last July when they played the Reds just after Liverpool had been declared Champions.
Liverpool have won just one of their last five games at the Etihad, a 2-1 win in the Champions League in April 2018 and their last Premier League win came back in November 2015, when they emerged as 4-1 winners.
In terms of total wins however, Liverpool have a comfortable lead winning 105 of the games played between the teams with City having 57 wins and 53 draws since they first met back in September 1893.
Manchester City v Liverpool – Tips
Match Result – Manchester City to win – 19/20
The dice seem to have fallen in Manchester City’s favour this past week with their two main strikers likely to be fit, while Liverpool still have massive issues in the centre of defence. Even if Matip is fit, Liverpool’s record at the Etihad in recent years is not great and as such, I think Manchester City are the sensible pick here.
Correct Score – Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool – 17/2
Games at the Etihad have either been a blowout or decided by one goal in recent years and I think the latter is more likely than the former here. Neither side’s defence fills me with great confidence and I think City will snatch this by a 2-1 scoreline.