Manchester City vs Liverpool: Preview, team news, betting odds, where to watch

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Manchester City vs Liverpool: Preview, team news, betting odds, where to watch

Premier league leaders Liverpool are set to face their sternest test of this campaign when they visit the Etihad Stadium to lock horns with defending champions Manchester City on Januray 4.

Going into matchday 21 Liverpool are top of the league with 54 points. Manchester City go into the second phase of the campaign in second spot, seven adrift of the pace-setting Reds.

Jurgen Klopp’s men would aim to get all three points from the feisty encounter as the Merseyside club bid for their first title in the Premier League  era.

On current form, Liverpool are the better side, having hit a purple patch in the busy festive period. Liverpool are on a nine-match winning streak while City have lost three of their last six encounters.

It must be noted that in the recent spate of matches where they came undone, City were for the better part, without the services of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and the enigmatic Kevin De Bruyne.

However, the two are likely to take the field when the Mancunians take the field on January 2. Liverpool are upbeat after coming on top in the fixture-intensive month of December, but form will count for nothing when they take on City. The Reds succumbed to a 5-0 defeat in the corresponding fixture last season,making all efforts to successfully predict the scoreline of this encounter an exercise in futility.

Team News

Going into the match, Pep Guardiola has more selection headaches than his opposite number.

The biggest concern for the defending champions would the fitness of  Kevin De Bruyne. The 27-year-old midfielder did not travel to Southampton for  City’s 3-1 victory at St Mary’s on December 30. In the words of Guardiola,  De Bruyne suffered a  ‘muscular’ injury ahead of the match.

“It’s not a big issue, but I cannot say if he will be able to play on Thursday,” Guardiola elaborated, casting aspersions on the severity of De Bruyne’s injury, and his availability for the game against Liverpool.

City would be short of  services in the midfield with Fabian Delph suspended, and Ilkay Gündogan also nursing an injury.

John Stones is expected to start at the heart of City’s defense while Guardiola may shift Aymeric Laporte out to left-back after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s difficult outing against the Saints.

Doubts also persist over the selection of Kyle Walker after his recent loss of form.

Injury concerns notwithstanding, City could field a rejigged playing XI from the team that fell to shock defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester City.

Going into the match Klopp has a selection headache of different sorts.

Barring long term injuries to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, other front players are fit and have hit top form as the season enters its second half.

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson sat out the 5-1 demolition of Arsenal and should return to lead the side at the Eithad. However, there is cut-throat competition for a starting berth in Liverpool’s well oiled midfield.

In this must-win match Klopp would not want to tinker with the winning combination.

Possible XI

Manchester City XI (formation: 4-3-3)

Ederson (gk), Laporte, Kompany (c), Stones, Walker, David Silva, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Sane, Aguero, Sterling

Liverpool XI (formation: 4-3-3)

Allison (gk), Robertson,  Van Dijk, Loveren, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum, Henderson (c), Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Players to watch-out for 

Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

Alisson Becker

If Liverpool find themselves at the top of the league standings this season it is due to their much-improved defense. One man that keeps Liverpool’s back line ticking is summer signing Alisson Becker.  With the aid of Virgil van Dijk and Co. the Brazilian shot stopper has managed to keep 12 clean sheets in the season so far. Becker is excellent in keeping out shots from close and long range and is equally adept with his long-range passes.  Given City’s relentless press and attacking prowess, Alisson should bring his A-game to the table for Liverpool to snatch all three points against City.

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City )

Raheem Sterling 1

With nine goals and six assists in just 16 appearances in the league this season, Raheem Sterling is Manchester City’s most potent goal threat. On his day, Sterling can dance and make his way out of the most adamant of defenses. The England forward has become a much-improved player under Guardiola’s tutelage. Sterling would want to dent his former employer’s league run to get City back in the reckoning.

Recent form

Liverpool: W-W-W-W-W-W

Manchester City: W-L-W-L-L-W

Betting Odds (bet365)

Liverpool: 5/2

Manchester City: 21/20

Draw: 29/10

Predictions

This should be a thrilling affair. Expect goals and a Liverpool win.

Where to watch

The kick-off is scheduled at 1.30 AM IST on January 4. The match will be broadcast live on the Start Sports network. The match can also be watched on OTT platform Hotstar.

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

2019-01-04 11:32:51

Images are for reference only.Images gathered automatic from google.All rights on the images are with their original owners.

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