Our Big Game Focus today is on the biggest match of the Premier League season so far – champions Manchester City against leaders Liverpool.
Manchester City can ill-afford to lose when Liverpool face them at the Etihad on Thursday evening. The defending champions are already seven points behind the irrepressible Reds, following a shaky December. A ten point gap would be very difficult to claw back, considering that Jürgen Klopp’s men have had the meanest defence the Premier League has seen for years.
Here is our detailed preview of the match, including betting tips, team news and predicted line-ups. Click here to bet on the match.
Liverpool have only conceded eight goals in 20 Premier League matches so far this season, and have kept 12 clean sheets in the process. They have not conceded two goals in one match since they drew 2-2 at West Bromwich Albion in April 2018. City have only scored one goal in their last three matches against Liverpool, including their two Champions League quarter final games last season. Manchester City Under 1.5 Goals is at odds of 1.95.
Liverpool remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League this season. Their hosts, on the other hand, have been as wobbly as we have seen them since the beginning of last season. Prior to their win over Southampton last weekend, Pep Guardiola’s men had lost two back-to-back matches for the first time since Chelsea and Leicester City beat them in December 2016. In the last four encounters between the two teams, Liverpool have won three and drawn once. Double Chance odds for Liverpool are at 1.80.
Mohamed Salah has scored in each of the last three matches between the two sides that featured goals (their last encounter ended in a 0-0 draw). The Egyptian is back to his best form for the Reds, with six goals in his last five league matches. He is valued at 2.30 for Anytime Goalscorer.
Guardiola was non- committal on whether Kevin De Bruyne will return to the team, after missing the Citizens’ win against Southampton. Ilkay Gündogan is also a doubt. Fabian Delph continues his suspension, while Benjamin Mendy is a long-term absentee.
Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all definitely ruled out for Liverpool. James Milner has not featured for two matches, and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for this one.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Danilo; Bernardo, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, G. Jesus, Sané
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane