Title Contender vs Title Defenders

Last updated: November 8, 2019 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 16:30
Venue: Anfield
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: WWDWW
Away Form: WLWWW
Last Meeting: Liverpool 1 – 1 Man City
Competition: EPL

The Champions of Europe face the Champions of England in what is now the biggest fixture in the Premier League between the two worthy title contenders. Will Klopp’s team keep up their excellent form or will serial winner Pep shrug off his team’s defence problems to dent the Red’s title ambitions?

The most straightforward managerial tactic Jurgen Klopp has been implementing is ‘don’t change a winning team’, and that’s the basics of Liverpool success. The regular first eleven have featured in two consecutive Champions League finals except for Allison and Fabinho. This consistency of team selection explains the great chemistry and understanding of each other’s positions and movements on the pitch. They have a game plan, with full belief in each other to fire on all cylinders, earning them the reputation as ‘the kings of comebacks’, earning 10 points from a losing position which is the highest in the league.

The ‘mentality monsters’, as their manager Klopp calls them, have had three 2 – 1 wins in the previous four games coming from behind to win against Spurs and Aston Villa, dropping points just once, against bitter rivals Manchester United. Mane put on a man of the match performance in the Villa game, providing the assist for Robertson’s 87th-minute equaliser and then scored a stoppage-time winning header. A draw at their turf won’t be a bad result for the Reds with their current six points cushion. Fans will be hoping for a win from the side that never backs down, a 9-point lead at this stage of the season will give them a much-needed safety net for the fixture congestion that is on the horizon.

Pep Guardiola allegedly ‘fears’ Liverpool attacking threat after a bizarre criticism of Sadio Mane by first acknowledging his talent but then saying he is a diver. However, the maestro is an experienced coach who knows how to play mind games with the opposition. It would be interesting to see if the remarks fire up, or causes close monitoring by the officials of the player who is arguably the best in the Premier League so far this season. The Citizens had a dramatic come back of their own against Southampton in what was the Kyle Walker show, with the 29-year-old creating the leveller for Sergio Aguero and scoring the match-winner in the 86th-minute.

Pep Guardiola took a rather conservative approach, abandoning their usual attacking football the last time they travelled to Merseyside with the match ending goalless. This time round they would be salivating for a win that would reduce the deficit to just 3 points. The Citizens now have two fit Centre backs in Stones and Otamendi with Fernandinho expected to drop back to his natural defensive midfield position. They need to sort their defensive bloopers that have led to two defeats already at this early stage in the league.

Liverpool are unbeaten in 28 league games on course to beat the record of Arsenal’s 49 during their invincible season run from May 2003 and October 2004. They face the Premier League Champions who were the only side they lost against last season, beating them to the title by a single point. Referee Michael Oliver has the unenviable task of officiating this game against the backdrop of two managers with outspoken opinions, one criticising VAR and the other highlighting the diving tendencies of opponents.

Team News

Liverpool are unbeaten in 28 league matches, facing the only side that beat them in the previous campaign; a win would take them 9 points clear at the top.

The Reds have faced three of the top six in the last six matches; Chelsea, Spurs, Man United, and now welcome the Champions to their home.

After a long injury spells, City has two centre backs fit to play in Stones and Otamendi as well as Fernandinho who played in this position during their time of the lay-offs.

Pep Guardiola stoked up fire ahead of the clash taking a dig on Sadio Mane tagging him as a diver and Jurgen Klopp’s calling for a clampdown on Man City’s tactical fouls.

Expected Line-Ups:

Liverpool (4-3-3): Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Subs: Adrian, Lallana, Gomez, Milner, Henderson, Origi, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Injured: Clyne, Matip, Shaqiri
Not available:
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Mendy, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Byrne, Sterling, B.Silva, Aguero
Subs: Bravo, G. Jesus, Mahrez, Gundogan, Angelino, Cancelo, Foden
Injured: Laporte, Sane, Zinchenko, Rodrigo
Doubtful: D.Silva
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Liverpool This Season Man City This Season
1st League Position 2nd
10 (5) Wins (away) 8 (4)
4 – 1 v Norwich Biggest Win 8 – 0 v Watford
1 (1) Draws (away) 1 (0)
Biggest Defeat 0 – 2 v Wolves
Mane (6) Top Goal Scorer Aguero (9)
Y13, R0 Discipline Y22, R1
0 Failures to Score 1
18.2% Clean Sheets 45.5%
81.8% Both Teams to Score Games 45.5%
81.8% Over 2.5 Goals 81.8%
18.2% Under 2.5 Goals 18.2%
  • Liverpool and Man City have faced off 44 times, Liverpool has 19 wins against City’s 9 with 16 draws between the two sides.
  • Last season’s joint top scorers Salah (5) and Mane (6) are top of their team tally while Aguero (9) and Sterling (7) lead the numbers for the Citizens. De Bruyne leads the assists chart with nine.
  • Both sides are prolific going forward with 81.8% of their matches scoring over 2.5 goals with a combined total of 59 goals in 22 games they have played separately.
  • Manchester City create an average of 4 chances per match, scoring 3.09 goals per game, while Liverpool has an average of 2.82 opportunities created per game and 2.27 goals per match.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
04/08/2019 FA Shield Liverpool 1 – 1 Man City Sterling 12’
03/01/2019 EPL Man City 2 – 1 Liverpool Aguero 40′
07/10/2018 EPL Liverpool 0 – 0 Man City
10/04/2018 UEFA Man City 1 – 2 Liverpool G.Jesus 2’
04/04/2018 UEFA Liverpool 3 – 0 Man City Salah 12’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Anfield is a tough stadium to go and get a win, but given the stakes and quality of the Man City team then we can’t cancel out the possibility of them getting a result. Liverpool are the form team; however, they have ridden their luck at times.

Normally we would be tempted to back a high-scoring draw; even a 3-3 wouldn’t be out of the question. That scoreline is priced @ 33/1 with 888sport. However, Pep’s defensive mindset last time he took his City site to Anfield makes us feel a 1-1 draw is much more probable. You can get odds of 6/1 for that result. Both teams to score seems almost a formality.