Manchester City must sink Liverpool to keep chasing Chelsea
Manchester City, 7/5 favourites to win with Coral, head down the M62 to face northwest rivals Liverpool and must triumph to stay in touch with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.
Victory is essential for both clubs, as Brendan Rodgers’ Reds also need to take all three points to keep pace with their top four competitors.
The Anfield outfit, 15/8 to steal City’s scalp, will not be enjoying European football next campaign, after dropping out of both continental competitions, unless they claim a Champions League spot.
Liverpool limped out of the Europa League against battling Turkish team Besiktas last time out, with defender Dejan Lovren missing in a tense penalty shoot-out.
City will not be so naïve as to think the Reds’ crumbled confidence on the continent means they will be easy prey at Anfield, however, and should instead view Liverpool as a wounded, but still lethal, lion.
The Sky Blues swept past their local foes earlier this season at the Etihad, but have a far less impressive record against the Reds on the road, with City failing to triumph at Anfield in their last 12 attempts.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are trailing Barcelona in the Champions League, though, and know they need a result against the Merseyside men to keep their campaign on track.
In a boost for the blue half of Manchester, the Citizens have struck seven in their past three battles against the Reds and have netted the joint top number of league goals this term, so back them at 17/5 to score three or more.
The Sky Blue’s defensive deficiencies were cruelly exposed at times against Barca, while Rodgers’ Reds also notably boast a wobbly rearguard, so expect a high scoring clash.
Liverpool have not failed to net against their hosts since 2010, so Coral’s sensational matchday special for City to win and both teams to score is fantastic value at 4/1 (maximum stake £20).
City’s superstars will be crucial, and none more so than Sergio Aguero, who was back to his brilliant best against Barca. The inspiring striker seems to have shaken off his post-injury slump and is 9/2 to net first or 6/1 to bag a brace or better.
Attacking artist David Silva has also been a surprise source of goals this season, with a personal record of nine strikes in the league, so is 11/4 in the anytime market. Meanwhile, new signing Wilfried Bony is 5/1 to break his Sky Blues duck by scoring last.
Liverpool will also be relying on heavily on their forwards, but brightest talents Daniel Sturridge (6/1 to grab the opener), Raheem Sterling (6/1 to fire home the final goal) and Jordan Ibe (7/2 to strike anytime) will need to be far more decisive than they were against Besiktas.
The return of first choice pair Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho, who were both absent in Turkey, will be a boost, but City can also welcome back game changer Yaya Toure.