- Man City won six and drew two of their last eight matches in all competitions.
- Liverpool won just three of their last nine Premier League away fixtures.
- Man City beat Liverpool 4-0 when the teams last played in July.
- The Citizens are averaging 2.09 goals per 90 minutes this term.
Victory vital for City
For Manchester City, Sunday’s clash with Liverpool could prove a pivotal point in their Premier League season. Even though we are still in the early exchanges of the 2020/21 campaign, the Citizens, who trail the league leading Reds by five points, can ill afford to let their rivals widen the gap.
A run of six wins and two draws from their last eight matches in all competitions sets Man City up nicely for Sunday’s heavyweight encounter, though Pep Guardiola – who has been beaten more times by Jurgen Klopp than any other manager in his career – will know his team need to play at an even higher level to claim the points.
City thumped Liverpool 4-0 the last time the recently crowned champions visited the home of the team they deposed, though Sunday’s encounter promises to be a much closer run thing.
No van Dijk, no problem?
When Liverpool lost Virgil van Dijk’s to a potentially season ending injury against Everton in mid-October, many observers forecast a downturn in results for Klopp’s Merseysiders, however, the Reds absorbed their defensive issues to win every game since.
Wins in the Premier League since their 2-2 draw at Goodison have been ground out rather than romped to however, and Liverpool had a scare or two in both of their 2-1 Anfield victories over Sheffield United and West Ham respectively.
The form of summer signing Diogo Jota in recent weeks has been a major plus point for Klopp however, and the Portuguese flier’s sensational hattrick in mid-week brought his tally up to six goals in his last four appearances.
City to take advantage
Liverpool have looked a little more vulnerable than their streak of winning results might suggest over the past month, and apart from their mammoth 5-0 win at Atalanta in mid-week, the Merseysiders have had shaky periods in close to every other game.
With Virgil van Dijk leaving a massive hole in their defence, and versatile stand-in Fabinho also out injured, the heart of the Liverpool rearguard will look a little thin-skinned again on Sunday, and we expect the predatory Citizens to pounce.
In contrast to their title rivals, City have been improving at the back of late, and the partnership developing between Aymeric Laporte and new signing Ruben Dias is starting to show real promise.
City kept four clean sheets on their way to winning five of their last six fixtures, and with the return to fitness of Gabriel Jesus adding more punch to their options at the business end, we think the Citizens have the right combination to succeed on Sunday.
In terms of a correct score prediction, an entertaining 2-1 home win is favoured. Liverpool’s run of just three of their last nine Premier League away assignments since February points to a fragility on the road that City can exploit, though the Reds’ own attacking prowess allowed them to score in each of the last six of those games, and in each of their first three away tests this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s expansive champions rarely fail to register and should be worth a consolation on Sunday, though City – who are averaging 2.09 goals per 90 minutes this season – should be able to outgun their visitors to secure a vital victory.
Anytime Goalscorer Tip: Raheem Sterling
Liverpool’s defensive issues saw them conceded first in four of their last five Premier League outings and former Red Raheem Sterling has the skillset to exploit his ex-employer’s brittle looking backline
The 25-year-old has scored six competitive goals for Manchester City this season and Sterling notched twice against Liverpool since August last year. The England winger will be determined to remind Pool what they are missing, and his close control and clever runs should test the Reds’ injury-hit centre.
Manchester City injuries and team news
Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho are Man City’s only pair of major injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s game. Sergio Aguero is rated as doubtful, though the Argentine will hope to play some part. Gabriel Jesus is in line to start following his return in mid-week.
Liverpool injuries and team news
Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho remain high-profile absentees for Liverpool, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also out.
Thiago is also struggling for fitness ahead of Sunday, though Joel Matip could make a welcome return to the heart of the Reds/ defence.