Sunday 19th March. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
It’s the final weekend before the international break, and Sunday’s headline fixture serves up an absolutely mouth-watering contest between two clubs currently sitting in the top four.
Both clubs know that a big win here would fire a huge warning shot to their fellow Champions League rivals while there are plenty of subplots to ensure that this will be an intense war from start to finish.
Bring it on!
City Closing In On Top 4 Qualification
Pep Guardiola’s men suffered huge heartache in Monaco on Wednesday night, but they cannot afford to suffer a Champions League hangover on Sunday. After all, they’re still in the middle of an intense battle for qualification to next year’s competition.
The Citizens will be confident about securing a top four finish, and will be looking to give their hopes another serious boost by continuing their great form at the Etihad. The hosts have lost just once Premier League match here all season, and that was against Chelsea. Given Liverpool’s relatively average away form, confidence should be high in the home dugout.
Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane are all capable of turning a game on its on head. If City can unleash those stars in the attacking third, they can punish the visitors. However, the continued absence of skipper Vincent Kompany is a cause for concern at the back.
Guardiola’s side are a wounded animal and it’ll be interesting to see how they react. One way or the other, it should provide immense drama for the neutral.
Klopp’s Reds In The Hunt Too
For any other team, an away trip to the Etihad would feel immensely daunting. Liverpool, however, have a tendency to perform well against the big teams, as has been shown in three league wins from three against City for manager Jurgen Klopp. If they can continue that trend on Sunday, their hopes of a return to Champions League football will look stronger than ever.
The Reds have had a little more time to prepare for this clash, and will be hoping that City’s fatigue will show both mentally and physically. Given the constant pressing style, the visitors will aim to punish defensive weaknesses – of which there have been plenty throughout the home side’s season.
Absences to Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge will cause a few issues for the visitors, but there’s still plenty of quality in the side. After securing what Klopp called his first ugly win last weekend, they could be ready for the battle.
It all makes for an intriguing clash, and it could have a telling impact on the top four hopes of the respective outfits. They’ve provided some great games in recent times while the Guardiola-Klopp rivalry certainly adds another spice. We could be in for a classic.
Manchester City v Liverpool Betting
With home advantage on their side, Manchester City are the odds on favourites for this one and are priced 19/20 with Coral. Liverpool, meanwhile, are available at 14/5 and the draw can be backed at 13/5.
With the way that both teams play, it’s difficult to see this one being a quiet affair at the Etihad. With the defensive weaknesses in both camps, we expect both teams to score.
But with both teams in need of the three points, we’re gonna take the additional risk by avoiding the 1-1 draw. At odds of nearly Evens, it’s well worth a punt.
City could be tired, both physically and mentally, while the Reds are refreshed and raring to go. Given the performances they’ve put in against City in recent league meetings, it’s not hard to see why.
Despite the noticeable absences, they still have the players to cause trouble on the counter and City’s eagerness to bounce back could play into their hands. We’re backing them to score in both halves.