A top of the league clash sees third-placed Manchester City take on Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City and Liverpool play in the final game of the weekend, and arguably the one most fans have been looking forward to. Two attack-minded teams looking to gain maximum points on the board will face off at the Etihad Stadium.
Due to the home advantage, City go into this one as slight favourites, but they have been far from convincing at the Etihad this season. Manager Pep Guardiola has instilled his philosophy at the club, but he has failed to bring the best out of his players.
Also, the mood in the dressing room and inside the stadium will be slightly gloomy as they are on the back of a disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Monaco. City won the first leg 5-3, but lost 3-1 in the second, and eventually bowed out on away goals.
Prior to their FA Cup win against Middlesbrough, City were held to a drab 0-0 draw at Etihad against Stoke, and Liverpool are expected to mount a tougher challenge that what the Potters did on the 9th of March.
The Reds are one of the most prolific attacking outfits in the league, and despite them being slightly inconsistent of late, they can spoil the day of any side in the country, on their day.
Jurgen Klopp’s side is known for their high pressing and high intensity, and look to outrun the opposition in every game they play. They will face a team who employs a similar style of football, which will make good viewing for the neutral.
Probable Lineups and Tactics
Willy Caballero will start in goal while Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy are likely to start ahead of Bacary Sagna and Aleksander Kolarov at full-back. Fernandinho will play as the deep lying midfielder, shielding the City defenders.
Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane will start on either flanks with Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva playing in the central positions off Sergio Aguero, who is likely to lead the line for the Citizens.
Manchester City Probable XI: Caballero; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Clichy; Fernandinho; Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne, Sane; Aguero.
Simon Mignolet has regained his number-one position back from Lorius Karius who has been despicable for the Reds this term. Also, with the German ruled out through injury, the Belgian seems like the obvious starter.
Dejan Lovren is expected to start and will partner Cameroonian Joel Matip at centre-back. A midfield three of Georginio Wijnaldum, Emre Can and Adam Lallana is likely to be fielded behind Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool Probable XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Wijnaldum, Can, Lallana; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.
- Manchester City have lost five of their last six Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W1).
- Indeed, Liverpool have won four consecutive league games against Man City for the first time since 1981 (a run of seven).
- Manchester City have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 12 games in all competitions against Liverpool, shipping 23 in the process (W2 D4 L6).
- Man City’s next Premier League home win will be their 200th in the competition, becoming the 8th team to reach this milestone. 158 of those 199 wins have come at the Etihad, 41 at Maine Road.
- Philippe Coutinho has scored more Premier League goals versus Manchester City than against any other team (4) in the competition.
- Sadio Mane has had a hand in four goals in his last three Premier League appearances against the Citizens (three goals, one assist), including a hat-trick for Southampton in May 2016.
- Aguero has scored 10+ goals in all six of his Premier League seasons. No player has scored 10+ goals in every season they have played in as often as the Argentine – the next highest is Eric Cantona, who scored 10-plus goals in all five of his Premier League seasons as a player.
Player to watch out for
All eyes will be on Liverpool’s Senegalese superstar who has been in sublime form this season for the Reds. City’s defence has been shaky all season and given the age of their full-backs, Sane could have a field day against them. He is known to stretch defences and catch the players tracking him completely out of position. He is expected to score at least once, and his performance on the night could be the telling point in shaping the outcome of the game.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool
Two teams with impeccable attacking prowess and equally woeful defensive vulnerabilities will go head to head on Sunday. This means that there are likely to be a number of goals and a lot of attempts at goal, paving the way for an end to end game.
Sergio Aguero has relished playing against the big teams and will be backed by Sterling and de Bruyne to torture the Reds defence. On the other hand, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho will do much of the same with the City back line, and Caballero will have to at his best if he is to keep out the attacking threat of Liverpool.