EPL: Manchester City v Liverpool Preview

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Our EPL analyst previews the blockbuster  EPL contest between Man City and Liverpool, which kicks off on Saturday the 9th of September.

Manchester City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium in the early kick-off on Saturday, with Pep Guardiola looking to beat the Reds for the first time since taking charge of the Citizens. Jurgen Klopp’s men are unbeaten in their last five Premier League meetings against City, winning four times.

City haven’t beaten Liverpool in the Premier League since 2014, when they recorded a 3-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium. However, they did get the better of the Reds in February last year to claim the League Cup with a 3-1 shoot-out victory following a 1-1 draw at Wembley. Both sides have started the season with two wins and a draw, but they will be looking to claim a big scalp by getting one over their rivals this weekend.

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English Premier League | Saturday 9 September | Etihad Stadium | 13:30

To Win (90 Mins)
Manchester City 17/20 | Draw 29/10 | Liverpool 28/10

Manchester City
Manchester City kicked off their Premier League season with a 2-0 win over Brighton at the Amex Stadium. The Citizens were then held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton, before beating Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium.

Guardiola would have been hoping to have Alexis Sanchez in his squad against a team they have traditionally struggled against, but the Chilean’s move fell through on transfer deadline day with City now having to wait till he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Guardiola will also be disappointed that Raheem Sterling is suspended and unable to face his former side. The England international has scored twice in three games and ensured City took all three points from their game against Bournemouth. But Guardiola should be able to cope without him as he has enough firepower in his side with the likes of Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.

Pep will be hoping his side can be more ruthless in attack. Much like last season, they are dominating possession and completely outplaying their opponents, but going forward there’s some improving to do. The signs are good, though, and if City do click in the final third, there will be very few sides who can stop them this season.

I’m expecting Guardiola to go with Jesus and Aguero up front, like he did against Brighton. The South American duo will look to exploit Liverpool’s defensive frailties and with the creative talents of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne behind them, Guardiola’s team are sure to cause all kinds of problems. City's only injury doubt is Ilkay Gundogan with Kyle Walker available after suspension.



Liverpool
Liverpool have collected seven points from their opening three matches to sit second in the table and spark talk of a possible Premier League title challenge. The Reds were held to a 3-3 draw away to Watford in Klopp's 100th competitive game in charge, but they bounced back to beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Anfield and trounced Arsenal 4-0 before the international break. Klopp rested Simon Mignolet against Arsene Wenger’s side, but is still likely to start the Belgian goalkeeper ahead of Loris Karius against City.

Philippe Coutinho is yet to feature for Liverpool this campaign due to a back injury. But the Brazilian playmaker could be in contention to feature after failing to secure a move to Barcelona in the transfer window. It would be a massive boost for Klopp to call upon Coutinho, but the German boss may well prefer to stick with the same players who overran the Gunners at Anfield.

Klopp also has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to call on following his £40million move from Arsenal. The England international will have to dislodge one of Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum or Jordan Henderson if he is to start against City. All three impressed in the thumping win over Arsenal, so Oxlade-Chamberlain may have to settle for a place on the bench.

Sadio Mane has started the season in superb form, bagging three goals already at a strike rate of one goal every 85 minutes. The pace the Senegal international possesses is a huge asset and looks certain to cause Manchester City's defence problems. City have spent plenty of money on their defence by bringing in Danilo, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy, however, Guardiola still does not appear to have settled on a favoured back line in his opening three games.

Mane will surely be looking forward to taking on a defence that is yet to gel, and on current form he will take some stopping on Saturday. With the deadly attacking trio of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah looking to wreak havoc, the Reds will fancy their chances of leaving Manchester with maximum points. The Reds will continue to be without Adam Lallana (thigh) and Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring) through injury.

Verdict: Liverpool Win & Both Teams to Score (9/2)
Liverpool have a great recent record against England’s top teams, especially Manchester City. Klopp’s side have won four of their last five meetings against the Citizens, including an emphatic 4-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium in 2015. I’m backing Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score at 9/2. 

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