The final weekend before the next international break features a second top of the table clash in as many weeks as Liverpool host Manchester City. Both sides had tricky away trips in midweek for their Champions League responsibilities.

Liverpool v Manchester City Preview and Prediction

They are two of the three sides yet to lose a league match thus far this season, as well as the two least generous defences in the league (having conceded just 3 goals each). It’s not just another stereotypical six-pointer, where neither side can afford to lose, but given the title race, it’s an opportunity for an early statement in the hunt for the league crown.

Fact of Interest:

  • Liverpool are currently enjoying a number of streaks against Manchester City; 3 wins in a row in all competitions, 6 wins in a row at Anfield, unbeaten at home in 18 matches.
  • Manchester City’s last win at Anfield was in the 2-1 league win in May 2003.
  • Manchester City’s goals are spread relatively evenly in matches, with 53% of their goals this season coming in the first half of matches.
  • 40% of Liverpool’s goals this season have come in the 15 minutes directly after halftime, and 60% have come in the second half of matches.
  • Sergio Aguero has scored 6 goals in 19 appearances against Liverpool.
  • Leroy Sane has scored 3 goals in 4 appearances against Liverpool.
  • Raheem Sterling has never scored against Liverpool.
  • Pedro has never scored against Liverpool.
  • Mohamed Salah has scored 3 goals in 5 appearances against Manchester City across his Chelsea and Liverpool career. All 3 goals were scored in Liverpool Red.
  • Sadio Mane has scored 5 goal in 10 appearances against Manchester City across his Southampton and Liverpool career. with two them arriving against the Citizens.
  • Roberto Firmino has scored 4 goals in 9 appearances against Manchester City.
Head to Head Liverpool Manchester City
Current Season Record Played 7, Won 6, Drawn 1 Played 7, Won 6, Drawn 1
Current Season Top Scorers Mane (4), Salah (3) Aguero (5), Sterling (4)
Last 10 Competitive Matches Liverpool 7 Wins, 1 Draw, Man City 2 Wins (1 on penalty kicks)
Last 10 Competitive Matches at Anfield Liverpool 7 Wins, 3 Draws
Last Season’s Result Liverpool 4-3 Man City

 

Odds of Interest (as at 2 Oct) Liverpool Manchester City
Odds – Result (Draw = 2.58) 1.43 1.85

 

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Scheduling Considerations:

Whereas Manchester City have had a relatively easier time of their recent schedule and opponents, Liverpool arrive at Anfield having played Chelsea twice (home and away), followed by a grueling trip to Napoli. 

Injury Considerations:

Liverpool remain without Alex Oxlade Chamberlain due to long term injury, and Adam Lallana is unlikely to be back from his groin strain in time. Naby Keita is a doubt to an injury picked up in midweek vs Napoli. Benjamin Mendy remains out for Manchester City, while Kevin De Bruyne, ahead of schedule in his recovery, is nonetheless unexpected to be available for selection as yet. 

Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:

Jurgen Klopp has made minor rotations in league and European play in midfield and defence, but broadly his selections have been consistent. The 433 is once again expected to be the tactical shape used for the Manchester City clash. Consistent selections aside, the German hasn’t enjoyed the luxury of having effective depth from his bench, save for attacking reinforcements Sturridge and Shaqiri.

Assuming no injury issues, the back 5 of Alisson, Alexander Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk and Robertson should be retained in full. With Keita a doubt, the midfield 3 of Wijnaldum, Henderson and Milner should make a start as of course should the illustrious front 3 of Sane, Firmino and Salah, though the latter’s off colour form (relative to last season’s incredible record) may make Manchester City far less anxious for the threat posed by the Egyptian.

Following some early season experiments, Pep Guardiola seems to have settled on a 433 configuration for his side, to good effect. Typically of the Spaniard’s approach, Manchester City’s possession performances lead the league (67%) and that possession has also been effective in attacking respects; the Citizens’ average of 24 shots per game is not only league leading, but 7 shots more per game than Chelsea, who are a distant second in shots per game with 17.

As with the other teams near the top of the table, Guardiola’s chief challenge has been rotation, though Manchester City’s excellent bench has made this a far less complicated problem to solve than for the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool. A near full strength side was used in midweek against Hoffenheim, and it’s unlikely that Guardiola won’t repeat the selection. Certain selections are ultimately obvious; Ederson in goal, Walker, Otamendi and Laporte should feature in the back 4, with the only debate being whether Vincent Kompany or John Stones make a start. In midfield, the excellent emergence of Bernardo Silva should continue with anchor Fernandinho, leaving a debate between Gundogan or David Silva for the other slot. Up front, the front 3 of Sterling, Aguero and Sane should remain intact. 

Prediction

Liverpool’s defensive issues have been exposed more and more in recent matches, with the matches away to Chelsea and Napoli spent with far more effort resisting the attacks of the two opponents in blue. While Liverpool’s home record against Manchester City is hugely impressive, the fatigue in the Liverpool starting XI has become more and more evident in recent matches. The form of the front 3 is negligible; Sadio Mane’s goal rush has dried up with no goals in his last 6 matches, while Firmino (0 in 4) and Salah (1 in 4) haven’t fared much better.

Manchester City, by contrast, have not struggled to find the net in recent matches with Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all sharing the latest goal-scoring plaudits. Despite the challenges with injuries, the rotation in defence involving Stones, Kompany, Laporte, Delph and Zinchenko has produced 4 clean sheets and just 2 goals conceded in their last 6 matches.

Home ground advantage is an advantage for Liverpool, especially historically in this fixture, but a gradual degradation of performance seems to have entered the Liverpool camp. With Manchester City not short of confidence, form, depth and quality, combined with the inherent pressure Jurgen Klopp and his team will feel to make good on their home record, the visitors are in a better position than ever to finally break their long unbeaten streak at Anfield and walk away with an important early statement win in the title race.

Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest EPL Betting Odds

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