All eyes will be at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City and Liverpool face-off in what is one of the most anticipated Premier League fixtures in recent history.
It seemed like job done for the reigning Champions as they had a 14-point lead at the summit in December.
Several slips us from Guardiola’s men means only a mere point separates both sides ahead of Sundays encounter. There is a growing sense that the winner of this clash could go on to win the Premier League title come May.
The stakes have never been higher and we are set for an exciting encounter from two of England and Europe’s best.
The reverse fixture ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw back in October but you can imagine there will be a winner at the Etihad come Sunday.
Both teams arrive into the match-up on the back of first leg Champions League victories, City eventually breaking down a stubborn Atletico Madrid defence to emerge with a 1-0 success, while the Reds put Benfica to the sword in Portugal, placing one foot and four toes in the semi-final of the competition thanks to a 3-1 win.
Form Guide: Manchester City
It has only taken two draws and a loss for City to lose their grip on what seemed certain to be a sixth Premier League crown, as Liverpool continued to rampage forwards while Southampton, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur dented Pep Guardiola’s dreams of back-to-back glory.
At one stage eight points clear at the top of the rankings having played the same amount of games as Liverpool – 14 at one point having played two games more – City are still fighting for success on three fronts this season after ceding their customary EFL Cup crown to the Reds.
City’s title destiny is still in their own hands, though, and victory on their own turf would see them open up an unassailable four-point gap at the summit heading into the final seven games of the season, but a Champions League quarter-final second leg with Atletico and a reunion with Liverpool in the semi-finals of the FA Cup represents a gruelling Easter period for the Citizens.
Heading into Sunday’s game at the Etihad with the wind in their sails was therefore of paramount importance for Man City, who eased to a 2-0 win at Burnley through Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan’s efforts before eventually managing to find their way through the low block of Atletico.
Form Guide: Liverpool
Having already stolen Man City’s EFL Cup crown out of their grasp and within touching distance of doing the same to their coveted Premier League title, Liverpool – to put it simply – have been a winning machine since January, and they have not rested on their laurels since the international break.
Liverpool were not at their free-flowing best against Watford at Anfield last weekend but nevertheless got over the line comfortably thanks to Diogo Jota’s header and Fabinho’s exemplary penalty, with that result seeing them briefly rise to the summit before City restored order at Burnley.
Many of those keenly watching Tuesday’s Champions League battle at the Estadio da Luz would have had their eyes on Benfica’s Darwin Nunez – who did take advantage of a defensive lapse from Liverpool to strike for the Portuguese side – but Ibrahima Konate, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz all ensured a healthy first-leg win for the Reds, with the latter certainly revelling in returning to rival Portuguese turf with a goal and assist.
Liverpool’s remarkable run of victories sees them head into Sunday’s game aiming to win in the Premier League for the 11th time in a row, with last weekend’s triumph over Watford seeing them string together 10 Premier League wins for the fifth time in their history – matching the previous record set by, you guessed it, Man City.
How the match could go
It is surely going to be a nail-biting contest between the two top teams of the Premier League. Man City will look to extend the lead over Liverpool in the points table and send a strong message to the opposition before the FA Cup Semifinal.
Liverpool, on the other hand, needs to bring out their best to challenge the Citizens in their own backyard.
It will take individual brilliance or mistakes to define this game and it is one that will be ultimately defined by slim margins.
Both teams to score
Games can often be tense when there’s so much at stake but these sides usually serve up plenty of entertainment whenever they collide. BTTS has landed in six of the last seven meetings. Given what is at stake on Sunday, you can expect both teams to have a go at each other and that could result to goals at both ends. Bet9ja have 1.60 odds, 1xbet have 1.63 and Paripesa have 1.63.
Over 2.5 Goals
In similar fashion to above, over 2.5 goals has come up in five of the last seven games between both sides. Bet9ja have 1.64 odds, 1xbet have 1.75 and Paripesa have 1.76.
Anytime Goalscorer (Manchester City)
Kevin De Bruyne
De Bruyne is often City’s most dangerous player, and is expected to step up for his side in this fixture. The midfielder has averaged 3.10 shots per game this season. In fact, he has surpassed the 3 shots per game average in each of his last three campaigns. He took five against Ateltico on Tuesday and is again expected to play a prominent attacking role for City. It is in City’s most crucial fixtures that De Bruyne tends to rack up the most efforts, taking six at home to Manchester United, four at Old Trafford, four at home to Chelsea, and five at Anfield in the reverse of this fixture. He is in good form at the moment and is worth a punt to get on the score-sheet in this big game. Bet9ja have 3.60 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.10.
Phil Foden made a big impact off the bench in midweek with his classy pass finding a gap in Atletico’s blanket defence to set up the winner for Kevin De Bruyne. The winger has netted in the last two meetings with Liverpool and is a strong shout for another goal here. Bet9ja have 4.80 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.65.
Anytime Goalscorer (Liverpool)
The Egyptian international has been struggling for form since defeat in the AFCON final against Senegal back in February. He has just one non-penalty goal in his eight league appearances since his return and missed several big chances on Tuesday night in Lisbon against Benfica. Mo was the star man for Liverpool against City earlier this season, creating the first for Mané before scoring from a mazy dribble that may have stirred memories of Georgi Kinkladze among the City fans. This means Salah (pictured above) is still the favourite amongst those in Red to score the game’s opener or to bag a goal at any time during the game against the Cityzens. Bet9ja have 3.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.00.
The pint-sized Portuguese is in red-hot goal-scoring form for club and country but has frequently offered little else, emerging from anonymity to deliver the dagger. With a match against Man City representing the most significant challenge Liverpool can currently face in world football, Klopp can ill-afford any passengers, particularly given the form of the man to Jota’s right. Jota has yet to lose a game in which he’s scored for the Reds and him finding the back of the net could be a good omen as well. Bet9ja have 5.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.60.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.