Manchester City vs Liverpool betting tips: Premier League preview & predictions

Manchester City vs Liverpool prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool

This is THE game. One that is already being billed as a title decider in some quarters given how few points these sides will drop against the bottom 14 sides in the league. The irresistible force vs the immovable object.

Manchester City fans would be forgiven for thinking Liverpool are their bogey team at this point. Liverpool eliminated them from the Champions League last season, winning both legs of the tie. They have also leapfrogged them over the Christmas period to wrestle the #1 spot in the league table from them.

City have only managed 1 win in the last 11 matches against Liverpool; 2 if you include a penalty shoot-out win in the League Cup. Historically also, City have managed just 14 wins from the 79 meetings between the two sides. So, Liverpool will confident of coming here and getting a result as they believe they have City’s number.

Klopp is also seen as Pep Guardiola’s kryptonite having won 8 and drawn 2 of the 15 meetings between the two sides. Something Pep acknowledged recently when he said “I love to read, but I don’t read [anymore]. I start to read and then I start to think ‘Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’ and I cannot focus!”

Likewise, in the ‘All or Nothing’ documentary, Guardiola is heard talking to two assistants during their match against Everton when he says “The forwards of Liverpool are good. They scare me. They’re dangerous, I mean it.”

This is the puzzle Pep will have struggled with ever since Liverpool eliminated them from the Champions League last spring. The realisation that to win another major trophy this season, he might need to find a solution to his Liverpool problem.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Who will win?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JANUARY 14: Ilkay Gundogan of Manchester City, Roberto Firmino of Liverpool and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool in action during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on January 14, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The defeat here against Palace in their last home game remains City’s only dropped points here this season. They also defeated Liverpool 5-0 here in the league last season. Therefore, City come into the game as 21/20 home favourites.

A draw would likely favour Liverpool as it would deny City the only chance to close the gap in the league which remains in their own control. These two sides played out a 0-0 draw earlier in the season at Anfield. Although, there have only been 2 draws from the last 11 league meetings between the two sides. A draw is 29/10.

Liverpool have won their last 9 matches in the Premier League. They have also won 3 of the last 4 meetings between these two sides, including a 1-2 win here in the Champions League on their last visit to the Etihad. Many feel another win here would effectively eliminate City from the title challenge in early January as it would give the Reds a 10-point advantage. They are 5/2 to break City hearts here once more.

Graph showing the top scorers for each side who are likely to be involved in the game. Click to expand.

Graph showing the top scorers for each side who are likely to be involved in the game. Click to expand.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Who will score?

Leroy Sané scored 3 goals in the 2 Premier League games against Liverpool last season. He hasn’t scored in 4 games for City over the Christmas period. He is 11/5 to score here; 15/2 as first scorer.

Raheem Sterling has yet to score against Liverpool since leaving the club in the summer of 2015. His record of no goals and 1 assist In his 9 appearances against the Reds is quite poor for a player of his ability. If you think he is overdue a goal against them, he is 7/4 to score. Or 6/1 to do so as first scorer.

Gabriel Jesus could be City’s secret weapon off the bench here for Pep Guardiola. He has 3 goals in 4 appearances against Liverpool during his City career; an average of a goal every 87 minutes. He is 11/10 to score at any time and 4/1 as first scorer.

Sadio Mané has scored 5 goals in 11 appearances against Manchester City in his career; only scoring more against Crystal Palace (6). He is 12/5 to add to his tally on Thursday, 8/1 as first scorer.

Mo Salah is joint top scorer in the league this season. He scored in 3 of his 4 appearances against City last season. He also managed 2 assists in the games too. If you think he has City’s number, back him at 5/1 to be first scorer. Or 11/8 to score at any time.

Fresh off his hat-trick at the weekend, Roberto Firmino will be looking forward to another opponent against whom he tends to have a lot of success. In his 7 Premier League appearances against City, he has 3 goals and 4 assists. He is 12/5 to score against them here, 8/1 as first scorer.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Match preview

Graph showing the 5-game rolling average of Expected Goal Difference (xGD) for Liverpool (Red) and Manchester City (Sky Blue). Click to expand.

Graph showing the 5-game rolling average of Expected Goal Difference (xGD) for Liverpool (Red) and Manchester City (Sky Blue). Click to expand.

Much has been made of the Manchester City slump. Was it real?

Was it just luck due to wonder goals? Is it due to injuries to Fernandinho & David Silva? Have they been found out?

Focusing on just the first two of those questions, we can see above that it is real. Their performances have dipped hard. Regardless of how the goals arrived, they fell from averaging an expected goal difference of 2.7 to 0.6 in the space of 10 games.

This would also suggest it isn’t simply a personnel issue; it’s more a steady decline than dropping off a cliff for the few games Silva & Fernandinho missed.

The 3 defeats in 4 games has perhaps exaggerated it somewhat. Although, that can also be seen as struggling with a situation where you are so used to things going as planned. How do you cope in a game where it isn’t going your way?

How do you battle through and still get what you want from the game when the performance doesn’t merit it?

It is something Liverpool have become the masters of this season.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Who is Brazil’s #1?

Graph showing all Premier League goalkeepers in terms of Percentage of Passes Completed in their own half and percentage of shots saved. Alisson (Red) and Ederson (Sky Blue) are highlighted. Click to expand.

Graph showing all Premier League goalkeepers in terms of Percentage of Passes Completed in their own half and percentage of shots saved. Alisson (Red) and Ederson (Sky Blue) are highlighted. Click to expand.

Often at the very highest level, the game can be broken down into a series of 1-v-1 battles, the outcome of which decides the tie. Often between two players vying for a title of being perceived ‘the best’. France ’98 was Zidane vs Ronaldo. Brazil v France 2006 was Zidane vs Ronaldinho. So, naturally, this game will be viewed by some as the battle between Brazil’s top 2 goalkeepers.

Brazil were often in the situation of having a side littered with world class talent and a mediocre goalkeeper. So, it seems strange now to have two of the world’s best break through at the same time for them, from the same age group.

At the moment, it is Alisson winning the battle for the #1 jersey and the above highlights why. While the pair are the stand-out two in the Premier League in terms of distribution, Alisson shows him up as a shot stopper.

Alisson has been an elite shot stopper for his 3 full seasons in his career with 78% (Internacional), 79% (Roma) and 85% (Liverpool) save % seasons.

Meanwhile, Ederson shows up as an average shot stopper. This makes sense at Manchester City where he likely faces an average of 2 shots per game and it makes up 10% of his involvement in a typical match.

Plus, arguably with an expansive system, shot prevention through aggressive sweeping and dealing with crosses is much more important than shot stopping.

However, with Alisson, he has much the same skill-set as Ederson AND is a world class shot stopper in addition. Hence why he gets the nod ahead of him at national level.

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Key men?

Graph showing the Key Men for both sides in terms of build-up play (width) and finishing phase (height) for Liverpool (Red) and Manchester City (Sky Blue). Click to expand.

Graph showing the Key Men for both sides in terms of build-up play (width) and finishing phase (height) for Liverpool (Red) and Manchester City (Sky Blue). Click to expand.

This graph paints a picture of how much of the ball both teams are likely to have. Manchester City’s build-up numbers are huge; no team will match them in head to head.

However, it also shows the threat that Liverpool possess is just the same with less of the ball. Salah continues to be the most dangerous attacking player in the Premier League this season; the first to notch 20 goal contributions. Firmino, Shaqiri and Mané are also all contributing goals and assists.

The biggest differences between the two sides though will likely be in midfield and full back. Gundogan & the two Silva’s are heavily involved in the finishing phase in terms of goals & assists.

Whereas, Liverpool’s midfield is much less involved in the finishing phase. They exist more to support the attack rather than being part of it.

With Benjamin Mendy missing, Manchester City have lost some thrust from their full back position in attack. Mendy’s aggressive approach and early balls into the box was often a creative source for them early in the season.

In his absence, none of their options offer the same threat or width that both Robertson & Alexander-Arnold do.

Although, with a midfield of David Silva & De Bruyne, you can manage with steady full backs who don’t pose as much threat in the final 3rd.

Manchester City team news vs Liverpool

Manchester City Kevin De Bruyne

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City goes down injured during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester City and Fulham at Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Eliaquim Mangala, Claudio Bravo and Benjamin Mendy remain on the long-term injury list for Manchester City.

Fabian Delph also misses the game due to a suspension following his sending off at Leicester.

Pep Guardiola insists Kevin De Bruyne’s latest injury isn’t serious. He faces a late fitness test to decide whether or not he can take part in Thursday’s match against table-toppers, Liverpool.

Kevin De Bruyne did train on Wednesday, according to Pep Guardiola in his pre-match press conference.

With Fernandinho & David Silva coming through the Southampton game unscathed, it is expected the same midfield trio will start again on Thursday. However, the absence of De Bruyne, along with Gundogan & Delph, would leave them short of options in midfield from the bench.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Leroy Sane were all rested against Southampton at the weekend and should return to the starting XI against Liverpool.

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s struggles against Southampton leave Guardiola with a problem to solve at left back. He may opt to shift Aymeric Laporte there despite struggling at times against Liverpool last season when isolated in this position.

Liverpool team news vs Manchester City

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores his sides fourth goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield on December 29, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Rhian Brewster and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain remain on the long-term injury list for Liverpool. However, the fans had some positive news over the Christmas period that Chamberlain’s recovery is going better than expected and he may be involved again before the end of the season.

Dominic Solanke won’t be involved. He looks likely to move on loan to Schalke or Crystal Palace.

James Milner has been struggling with a thigh injury. Milner has been confirmed as available for this crucial Premier League clash but he faces a struggle to displace one of Henderson, Lallana or Keita off the bench.

Perhaps Klopp will be keen to utilise Milner in the centre of midfield from the start.

With 5 days since their last match, Liverpool’s starting XI should be well rested allowing Jurgen Klopp to select his strongest XI once more.

Jordan Henderson is an option to replace Fabinho in midfield should he opt for fresh legs and greater energy in midfield from his captain.

Naby Keita is another who will be desperate to be starting games once more. He hasn’t started since the 3-1 win against Manchester United. He hasn’t featured at all in the last two appearances.

The latest tweets from Manchester City pre-Liverpool

The latest tweets from Liverpool pre-Manchester City

https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1080222383267446784

https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1080207283798360065

https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1080192939320594432

https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1080182662256623616

https://twitter.com/LFC/status/1080177085036015616

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

Get notified!
About the best football betting tips from industry experts!
Thank you!

Massive odds on Liverpool to beat Manchester City: 50/1!!!!