Man City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in what could be a Premier League title decider. The hosts sit one point clear and five behind on goal difference. A win for the Reds would see them finish the day top of the league for the first time since October. The Citizens have only lost one of their last 12 home league matches against Liverpool and that was on Klopp’s first visit to the Etihad, back in 2015.
Man City Form
City are in very strong form with nine wins and two draws in their last 12 in all competitions. They have lost just once in 22 matches, a surprise 3-2 home defeat to counter-attacking Tottenham. Pep Guardiola’s side have won six of their last eight matches with two 0-0 draws – a surprise home stalemate against Sporting Lisbon when 5-0 up on aggregate, and a goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
Their last three matches have seen them win 4-1 at Southampton in the FA Cup after three goals in the final 30 minutes and 2-0 at Burnley in the Premier League. City beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in midweek in their Champions League quarter-final first leg as Kevin de Bruyne scored the goal.
Man City Team News
Ruben Dias remains out injured but Kyle Walker returns from a European suspension, allowing Joao Cancelo to return to left-back. Nathan Ake could miss out on John Stones partnering Aymeric Laporte. Bernardo Silva will return to the midfield three with Ilkay Gundogan benched.
Phil Foden looks a certain starter, probably as a false nine, but he excelled on the right-wing against Atletico Madrid and as a left winger against Liverpool earlier this season. Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez are fighting for two spots.
Man City Motivation
City knows that a win would give a real strong four-point lead whilst a defeat sees Liverpool leapfrog them to the summit. Guardiola could be quite a risk-averse in this one and don’t rule out some shocks in his team selection to reflect that.
A draw would be a steady result to keep the top spot and also ensure no change in the goal difference. However, City may need to score a couple of times to make a point with the firepower at Liverpool’s disposal.
The Reds are in sensational form. They have won 16 of their last 18 matches, losing once in that time and beating Chelsea on penalties after a draw in the Carabao Cup final. Their only defeat came when already 2-0 up on aggregate against Inter Milan due to some complacency and a drop in intensity.
That surprising defeat has been followed by five straight wins with only one goal conceded. They won 2-0 at Brighton, 2-0 at Arsenal, and 1-0 at Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup quarter-final. They then beat Watford 2-0 at home before a convincing 3-1 win away at Benfica. They had over 70% possession and were 7-0 on shots after 22 minutes before easing off.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool’s only injured doubt is Fabinho due to a cut on the head. He will be fit to start this one though, alongside Thiago Alcantara and either Naby Keita or Jordan Henderson. Joel Matip will probably start in preference to Ibrahima Konate at center-back.
In attack, Luis Diaz is pushing hard to start (with Sadio Mane as a false nine) but it’s more likely that Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino are selected for this one.
100% focus will be on this match. Liverpool looks on the verge of reaching the Champions League semi-finals so the second leg will not be any distraction in midweek and it’s at home anyway.
The Reds will go all out to win this match and won’t settle for a draw. A victory would see them go two points clear as well as at least +7 clear on goal difference.
City have won 16 of their last 18 PL matches (L1, D1)
City have lost once in their last 22 matches (all comps)
City’s Foden has scored in his last 3 matches against Liverpool
MCFC have scored 2+ goals in 5 of their last 6 home matches
Liverpool have won 10 PL matches in a row (8 clean sheets)
LFC have won just 1 of their last 12 PL matches away to City (none for 5 seasons)
Liverpool have netted 2+ goals in 5 of their last 6 PL matches
This match has goals written all over it. The result itself is hard to bet on but the goals market should provide some value.
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