Manchester City face Liverpool at the Etihad on Thursday evening in the biggest game of the 2018/19 Premier League season. There may be half the season to go, but if Liverpool win they'll be 10 points having only dropped 6 points all season. City will believe they have to win the game to stay in contention.
Given the circumstances you'd expect there to be more goal action than in the rather drab clash in October. Riyad Mahrez's late penalty miss at Anfield in the reverse fixture is taken on increasing significance week by week. Had that gone in the gap would have been only four points between the two north west giants.
In the game earlier in the season it was Liverpool who were ones coming in on the back of wobbly form. This time round City look vulnerable and beatable! Three defeats in their last five league games is sure to be concerning for Pep and co.
If there's been any form of complacency in Pep Guardiola's camp over the last few weeks, you'd think a major title deciding clash would be just the thing to snap city out of their malaise. City haven't exactly been playing poorly in the games they lost; Palace scored a worldy of a goal to take the lead, Leicester snatched a late winner with another jaw dropping striker and Chelsea snatched break away goal after city dominated for 45 minutes. City could have easily won all of those games. Is this really a crisis?
Manchester City have already put one Liverpool team to sword this season when they saw off Everton before Christmas. City created lots of chances in that game, but like in many games in recent weeks, gave the opposition plenty of chances. The defence is shaky! Man City are best priced with Betfair at 12/5 to keep a clean sheet.
It's hoped that Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, and David Silva will all be starting against Liverpool, something which hasn't happened yet this season. The stats are clear: when these three players don't play, City don't get as good results. Last season after 20 games, the trio had started 18 games and Manchester City were on 58 points (dropping only two points). Betfred are offering 14/1 for Kevin De Bruyne to score first while, Betfair are offering 12/1 on David Silva to bag the first goal!
Silva and Fernandinho should be fit, with De Bruyne facing a late fitness check following a minor 'knock.' If that trio plus Vincent Kompany play it makes City backable favourites. Ilkay Gundogan is also set to be fit for the game.
Guardiola has a squad of deep quality, but it's not really clear whose the strongest starting eleven are. Should Sane start? Both Silva's? Mahrez? Jesus? Liverpool know their starting eleven (bar a couple of changes), where as for Man City I think you could argue about 10+ different combinations! The strength of squad at City could start becoming a weakness!
Liverpool! What's there not to like? Scoring loads of goals at will, entertaining football and not letting hardly any goals. Can they do City in their own back garden? Can they go the whole Premier League season unbeaten?
Liverpool have been improving steadily under Jurgen Klopp and will go into this match with high expectations. Klopp has the edge over Guardiola (two more wins than Pep) and will confident his men can at least take something from the game. Klopp has fostered a happy camp with even bit part players all singing a happy tune!
Liverpool ran riot against Arsenal on Saturday night with the likes of Mane, Firmino, Salah and Shaqiri too much for a poor Arsenal backline. You would expect Klopp to take a more cautious approach on Thursday with Shaqiri missing out in favour of a more defensive minded midfielder. It's expected that James Milner will come (if fit) having missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. The rest of the team should pick itself given Gomez is still out.
Liverpool have only dropped points against Arsenal (away), Chelsea (away) and Manchester City (home). They're already scored 48 goals this season, having only conceded 8 goals and you could argue the front three have barely been on top form. Mo Salah is currently 5/1 to score first with Coral and 8/5 to score anytime with Coral!
To counter the Liverpool love in, it's worth mentioning Liverpool have under performed in the big away games in the Champions League this season. Three defeats out of three in the group stage has been a blip on the near blemish free record. While there are mitigating reasons in all three games, the way Liverpool failed to show up will concern Klopp. Liverpool failed to score in two out of those games and only score from the penalty spot against PSG. In the Premier League Liverpool have scored at least once in all away games. Liverpool to score in the match is 1/3 with Betfred!
Manchester City - WLLWLW
Liverpool - WWWWWW
- Both sides have gained 88 points in the calendar year of 2018.
- Manchester City haven't beaten Liverpool since September 2017 (5 - 0 win).
- Manchester City are averaging just under 18 shots per game (Liverpool just under 16).
- Liverpool have only lost once in the last 8 matches against Manchester City.
- Liverpool have only been behind in one Premier League match this season (Chelsea away).
- Liverpool are on a run of nine consecutive wins in the league.
- Sergio Aguero has scored in all (6) of his home league matches against Liverpool.
Head to Head
|Liverpool 0 - 0 Manchester City||Premier League||7th October 2018|
|Manchester City 1 - 2 Liverpool||Champions League||10th April 2018|
|Liverpool 3 - 0 Manchester City||Champions League||4th April 2018|
|Liverpool 4 - 3 Manchester City||Premier League||14th January 2018|
|Manchester 5 - 0 Liverpool||Premier League||9th September 2017|
|Manchester City 1 - 1 Liverpool||Premier League||19th March 2017|
|Liverpool 1 -0 Manchester City||Premier League||31st December 2016|
|Liverpool 3 - 0 Manchester City||Premier League||2nd March 2016|
Current Match Odds (Best Priced Odds)
Manchester City: 21/20 - Bet Victor!
Draw: 14/5 - Unibet!
Liverpool: 13/5 - Betfred!
I backed goals and Liverpool in the last meeting and was left with egg on my face! I don't see lightening striking twice this time round. Manchester City have to go for the win and Liverpool are not the sort of team to sit back and defend. I firmly believe this game will be far more exciting and entertaining than the Anfield meeting.
Expect fireworks in this one, neither team can afford to just sit back and let the other dictate the pace. Goals, cards, corners and plenty of action are virtually guaranteed! Definitely no chance of another 0-0!
My Recommended Bets
- Over 2.5 goals: 13/20 with Bet Victor!
- Liverpool Half Time / Man City Full Time Result: 25/1 with Bet Victor!
- Mo Salah anytime goalscorer: 8/5 with Coral!
Betting Offers & Promotions for the game!
New Customer Offer
Betfair Sportsbook have enhanced the odds on both Liverpool and Man City to win the game as well as fantastically generous £100 free bet bundle for new customers who open an account with Betfair Sportsbook:
25/1 on Man City to beat Liverpool
New Customers can get Man City at an enhanced 25/1 to beat Liverpool. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets. Full T&Cs Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Note this offer ends at 8:00pm on Thursday 3rd January 2019.
50/1 on Liverpool to beat Man City
New Customers can get Liverpool at an enhanced 50/1 to beat Man City. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets. Full T&Cs Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Note this offer ends at 8:00pm on Thursday 3rd January 2019.
Existing Customer Offer
Coral have a great offer for new and existing customers betting on the game. Back either team pre match in the 90 minute markets and you will receive a free bet up to £5 for every goal scored (up to max of 3 free bets).
£5 FREE BET for every goal!
18+. UK&IRE only. Online & Phone. Min bet £10. £5 per goal paid as free bet. Offer valid on either team to win in the 90 mins pre match market. One free bet per customer. Max 3 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days. Not valid with Cashout. Restrictions may apply/ T&Cs apply.
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (19:30 2nd January 2019) and are subject to change.
Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account