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Man City v Liverpool betting tips: Can Pep’s men re-ignite title fight?

Richard Marsh | 3 January 2019

Preview and odds for tonight’s Premier League showdown

We’re set for an unmissable encounter tonight as Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s Citizens are seven points behind Jurgen Klopp’s Reds after a string of losses over the Christmas period.

Liverpool remain unbeaten, and have won a remarkable 17 games from 20 this term as they seek a first league title since 1990.

The Merseysiders have gone close before, but faltered in 1996, 2009 and 2014. Is this season going to be different?

Tonight is something of a six-pointer. A Man City win would chop the gap to just four points, but a draw or an away victory tonight would put Liverpool in a commanding position with less than half the season to go.

Tottenham Hotspur are in the frame too, but many believe that one of tonight’s sides will be this season’s champion.

It’s all live on the box on Sky Sports Premier League, kicking off at 8:00pm, but who will prevail?

Head-to-head

Recent battles have been dominated by the Reds.  City’s 5-0 win last season (aided by an early red card to Sadio Mane) is their only victory in the last 11 meetings in all competitions.

Liverpool have had little problem at the Etihad, either. They won in both the league and in Europe last season, and have lost only three of their last eight visits.

The formbook also supports the visitors tonight. Liverpool are on an eight-game winning run, including each of their last seven league games.

City have lost three of their last eight in all competitions, including two of their last three matches. They’ve also conceded in each of their last 10 games.

Likely XIs

City won 3-1 last time out at Southampton, with Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez the chosen trio up front.

Sterling and Aguero are likely to start, although Guardiola could swap Mahrez for Leroy Sane.

The return of Fernandinho at St Mary’s will have been welcomed by City fans. The Blues lost both matches without the Brazilian over Christmas.

He’ll sit in the holding role, with the task of stifling Liverpool’s creativity. Two of David Silva, the fit-again Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva will join him in the middle.

Klopp has started Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Xherdan Shaqiri and Mane in each of his side’s last two matches. They won both and scored nine goals, but will he opt for a more cautious approach tonight?

If so, expect Shaqiri to drop to the bench, and Liverpool to field a 4-3-3, with Jordan Henderson returning to the starting XI to offer composure and balance. James Milner is fit again too and could feature.

In defence, Kyle Walker will return for City in place of Danilo, and Oleksandr Zinchenko should continue at left-back with Fabian Delph still suspended.

For the visitors, Dejan Lovren will keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Joe Gomez still injured.

Key battles

October’s 0-0 meeting at Anfield was a lacklustre affair. Both sides were happy with a point.

But that’s unlikely to be the case now. It’s advantage Liverpool and City can’t afford to lose at home to the Reds for the third time in a row.

Both sides boast electric strikeforces, but it will be down to the midfielders to supply them.

Kevin de Bruyne has missed most of the season, but he and David Silva are a renowned partnership.

Can Liverpool’s midfield shut them down? If not, City could take advantage.

Fernandinho’s return is vital for City, too. Few players are as good at breaking up play as the Brazilian.

Match odds

The traders have chalked up City as Evens favourites to inflict Liverpool’s first league defeat of the season.

There’s 12/5 about Liverpool producing another win at the Etihad, with the draw available at 27/10.

Was October’s 0-0 an anomaly? Each of last season’s four meetings yielded over 2.5 goals. There’s 8/13 about three or more goals tonight.

As for who grabs them, Aguero is 4/1 favourite to net first, ahead of Salah at 5/1. The Egyptian is bang in form, too, with six goals in his last five games.

After his hat-trick against Arsenal, Firmino is 17/2 first goalscorer and 13/5 anytime, while Sterling is 11/2 to break the deadlock with his first goal against his old club.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing