Liverpool vs Man City betting preview : Guardiola can tame Reds at Anfield
- 4.30pm Sunday 10 November
- Live on Sky Sports
The biggest game of the Premier League season so far comes round this Sunday as Liverpool host Manchester City and try to extend their lead at the top of the division to a seriously commanding one.
After 11 games of the campaign the Reds have already opened up a six point lead, thanks to winning 10 and drawing just one match so far, losing two less than any other side in the top flight. It has come as a great shock that the champions have already been beaten twice, especially as those defeats came against Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool have not even been at their rampant best very often this season, often needing late goals to secure victories, and failing to outscore City, Leicester or Chelsea at this stage. However, they are finding ways to win, and their defence, although not quite as watertight as last season, has still just leaked nine goals in 11 games, so they are not regularly being breached.
Pep Guardiola’s side have turned in the more eye-catching performances this season. They’ve scored nine more goals than Liverpool, while conceding just one fewer, but they do look vulnerable when they are not at their very best. Problems at centre-back are a big issue for Guardiola with Aymeric Laporte remaining sidelined until the new year. It looks like the partnership in the middle of defence will be John Stones and Fernandinho – hardly formidable – with Nicolas Otamendi another option.
Although the Reds have not been battering teams like they do at their peak, Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will be licking their lips at the prospect of Stones and Fernandinho standing in front of them.
Anfield has been a fortress
City will also have to turn around some quite significant history if they are to get a result at Anfield. Liverpool have not lost at home in the Premier League since April 2017 when they were beaten 2-1 by Crystal Palace. They have gone two full seasons without defeat on their own patch and are en route to a third. Even the champions will struggle to break the stranglehold Liverpool have on their own turf.
This is all the more concerning for the Cityzens when they take a look at their own record on the red half of Merseyside. The last time City won at Anfield in the Premier League was May 2003, over 16 years ago when two late Nicolas Anelka goals gave the visitors victory.
Much has changed since those days, when Kevin Horlock, Richard Dunne and Joey Barton were in the City side, but the Premier League champions do not tend to fair well at Anfield. Prior to that victory, you have to jump back to 1981 for another City win away at Liverpool.
City have been hard done to by the fixture list
The Reds have also been treated to a kindness by the fixture schedulers ahead of this mammoth contest. Both teams are in Champions League action this week, but Liverpool host Genk on Tuesday night, while City must travel to Atalanta on Wednesday. An easier, home game a day earlier for Jurgen Klopp’s men is beyond preferable and Guardiola will be seething at that fact, despite still having nearly four days for his players to recover.
City endured an especially stressful night in Europe as well, with Ederson going off injured at half-time and his replacement, Claudio Bravo, being sent off, leaving Kyle Walker to fill the void in goal. They came away with a point in the end, but it was a lot more hard work than they would have liked or expected against a team that had not picked up a single point in the group before that match. Liverpool were also pushed a little harder than expected, but eventually came away with a relatively comfortable victory and Klopp was able to rest the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino from his starting line-up.
Ederson injury could be a huge factor
The severity of Ederson’s injury is not yet clear, with Guardiola dismissing it as nothing major and Klopp predicting that we will see the Brazilian between the sticks at Anfield. However, if we do not, then it is a huge plus for Liverpool. Bravo is a huge step down from the first choice keeper for the champions, and having been shown a red card in a rare appearance just days earlier, his confidence will hardly be in a good place. The Chilean proved that his decision making is not great when he came haring out of goal in the red card incident and he could well cost his side at Anfield, if he does start.
This fixture last season was a surprisingly dull affair which ended 0-0, but there were plenty of goals the campaign before that. Twice City went to Anfield in the 2017-18 season, losing 4-3 in the Premier League and 3-0 in the Champions League. It is easier to see a low-scoring affair than a goal-fest this time around because Liverpool are not under much pressure to go out and win the game. Clearly three points would give them a stunning advantage in the league table, but a draw would be a fine result for the home side, as it would be for the visitors as well. Guardiola would love to gain ground on Liverpool, but offer him a draw before the match and he would gladly take it.
With this in mind, the draw looks very appealing and is an excellent price ahead of the game. Neither side are at their best at the moment. Liverpool cannot continually be bailed out with late goals, while City’s makeshift defence is going to crumble at some stage. The frailties balancing out, along with no great desire from either side to push for victory will see this one end level, potentially in something of an underwhelming contest.
- Liverpool are the only undefeated team left in the Premier League this season
- Manchester City have not won at Liverpool in the Premier League since May 2003
- Liverpool have not lost at home in the Premier League since April 2017
- The Reds have not failed to score in a match yet this campaign
- Man City are the top scorers in the Premier League this season with 34
- Liverpool have not beaten Man City in their last three meetings
- There have been two draws in the last five Premier League games between these sides
- Man City’s Sergio Aguero is the second in the Premier League scoring charts with nine
- Liverpool’s top scorer, Sadio Mane, has six goals
- Kevin de Bruyne has produced nine assists this season, five more than any other player in the division