With the international break firmly in the rear-view mirror, the Premier League gets back to business with what promises to be another cracking contest between rivals Manchester City and Liverpool in today’s lunchtime fixture.
Pep Guardiola’s Citizens need a victory at The Etihad Stadium to ensure they keep hold of Arsenal’s coattails at the division’s summit, while Jurgen Klopp’s Merseysiders need points of their own to keep their top-four hopes flickering.
You know the routine by now – below, I’ve compiled a stats pack for today’s showpiece showdown which is jam-packed with ideas for your bet builder coupons. I recommend using the info in conjunction with my Stats Pack Guide to enhance your results.
Norwegian superstar striker Erling Haaland is a doubt for today’s tussle having just missed his country’s exploits during the international break, though I expect the goal machine to make the cut. Phil Foden is a confirmed absentee however, as he recovers from appendix surgery.
Ederson should reclaim his spot between the stick having been rested in the FA Cup, while Ilkay Gundogan could join Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne in midfield. Bernardo Silva will hope to earn a starting berth a little further up the pitch.
Explosive Colombian attacker Luiz Diaz is back in full training for Liverpool, however, he is unlikely to be chucked into the deep end today and the 26-year-old might have to be content with a place on the bench instead. Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez should start up front with Mohamed Salah.
Klopp’s midfield options are a little light with Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic still injured, though Fabinho and Jordan Henderson should feature. Klopp must decide whether to go with Harvey Elliott’s energy or James Milner’s experience for the other midfield slot.
Manchester City have been posting title-winning-standard stats for the majority of the campaign, however, the defending champions will kick-off today’s game a chunk eight points behind current leaders Arsenal.
City’s attacking metrics catch the eye in particular and they rattled the net 13 times in their final two assignments before the international break. In the disciplinary stakes, only Brighton have collected fewer cards than City this term, while only Newcastle have been winning more corners than the Cityzens.
Liverpool have been a match for anyone from an attacking perspective this season and their shots and shots on target per 90 figures for the campaign are right up there, however, some of their defensive stats, including their xG against (p/90) tally, are mid-table quality at best.
The Reds eked out a 1-0 win over Man City in the reverse league meeting between the clubs in October, though Liverpool did lose the xG battle by a significant margin that afternoon (1.0 – 2.1) and they needed keeper Alisson to bail them out. Liverpool amassed four cards to City’s one in that narrow triumph and they are priced at 8/13 to pick up more than their hosts again today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
With Julian Alvarez likely to be warming the bench and the injured Phil Foden in the stands, Erling Haaland leaps off the page again as City’s most-threatening player in attack. The 22-year-old mustered six attempts in City’s 1-0 loss at Anfield in October, four of which found the mark. The Norwegian looks a great fit at 8/15 to lodge 2+ shots on target again today.
Ilkay Gundogan, who just about sneaks onto the table, was also a real nuisance at Anfield last year when he hit the target twice from four attempts and the experienced campaigner looks like good value at 5/6 to clock 1+ accurate attempts again in this afternoon’s rematch.
Dynamic Uruguayan Darwin Nunez has been a bet builder’s staple this season and the ex-Benfica striker is one of the Premier League’s best numbers men in terms of raw output. Nunez has been hitting 5.08 shots and 2.07 shots on target per 90 this term and the 23-year-old can be backed at generous odds of 8/15 to register at least one accurate strike again later on.
Mohamed Salah meanwhile, who always seems to do some damage against Man City, can be added to your docket at 1/2 in the same market. Salah has had at least one shot on target in seven of his last eight appearances in all competitions for Liverpool.
Player Goals and Assists
Erling Haaland’s productivity was borderline ridiculous in the lead-up to the international break and the lethal finisher plundered an insane nine goals in three runouts before the club campaign’s pause. Haaland scored in City’s 3-2 Carabao Cup win over Liverpool in December and the former Dortmund starlet is 4/6 to find the net anytime again today.
Kevin De Bruyne’s wand of a right foot produced three magic goal contributions in his last two appearances for City and the brilliant Belgian laid out two assists in that league cup triumph over the Reds before Christmas. De Bruyne is 8/11 to either score or assist again this afternoon.
Darwin Nunez is finally starting to look the part for Liverpool while January recruit Cody Gakpo also seems to be warming to the task, however, Mohamed Salah has routinely been the Reds’ go-to guy in fixtures against Man City.
The Egyptian winger notched the game’s only goal when Liverpool beat Man City in October and the 30-year-old has scored in each of the Reds’ three encounters with the Cityzens overall this term. Incredibly, Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 15 goals against Manchester City in all competitions for Liverpool (ten goals, five assists) and he is a hefty 8/5 to either score or assist again later on.
Rodri has been City’s chief pass-master this season and the Spaniard played a huge 104 passes when the Manchester giants beat Liverpool 3-2 in the Carabao Cup in late December. The 26-year-old also pinged around 92 passes when City lost at Anfield in October and Rodri should hit some big numbers again today.
City had 56.5% and 63.2% of the possession in their last two encounters with Liverpool and they will expect to dominate the ball again today. Any of their more defence-minded players should be decent coupon fillers in the 70+ passes markets later on.
Liverpool centre-halves (Joel Matip & Joe Gomez) saw more of the ball than their teammates when the Reds last locked horns with City in December, while the last league skirmish between the clubs produced a similar story with Virgil van Dijk (49) and Gomez (55) again topping the individual passing charts for the Merseysiders.
Van Dijk could be paired with French international Ibrahima Konate in central defensive today, and both towering figures look like your strongest options in the passing stakes for Liverpool again. I recommend aiming for low targets however, with Liverpool unlikely to see more than 45% of the ball today.
Manchester City Cards
Rodri was the only Man City player to see yellow when the champions last faced Liverpool in December’s Carabao Cup clash and the tactical-fouling supremo sinned twice in each of the Cityzens’ last two skirmishes with the Reds.
The Spanish international is 4/6 to commit 2+ fouls again today, while Bernardo Silva, who has been committing 1.11 fouls per 90 this term could be a docket-padding option at 1/3 to complete 1+ violations. Nathan Ake could be one to watch in the same market at 8/15 when he marks the livewire Mohamed Salah.
Harvey Elliott is slight of frame and he tends to get knocked about in midfield as a result. The 19-year-old has been fouled 1.45 times per 90 this season and he could be bullied by Rodri today.
Jordan Henderson could be on the end of Bernardo Silva’s trademark ankle clips when the latter joins the battles in central midfield, while Mohamed Salah – who has been fouled 0.93 times per 90 this term – could be marked out for special treatment by Dutch defender Nathan Ake.
Match-Ups to watch
Rodri vs Harvey Elliott
Bernardo Silva vs Jordan Henderson
Nathan Ake vs Mohamed Salah
Hard-hitting Brazilian Fabinho was cautioned in each of Liverpool’s last two meetings with Man City in league and cup, and the tough-tackler should have plenty of work to get through again in the clubs’ latest head-to-head today, making him a savvy choice at 11/5 to be collared again.
His foil in midfield, Jordan Henderson, should be his usual combative self in central areas and the 32-year-old can be squeezed into your bet builder at 1/3 to commit just one foul later on. At full-back, the defensively suspect Trent Alexander-Arnold faces a tricky outing against foul magnet, Jack Grealish. Alexander-Arnold is 1/4 and 5/4 to commit at least one and a minimum of two fouls today respectively.
City’s key creator, Kevin De Bruyne, has been fouled 0.98 times per 90 this season, though that figure could climb today when he lines up against no-nonsense Brazilian, Fabinho. To De Bruyne’s left, fellow midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (fouled 0.92 times p/90) could also be in the wars against Liverpool pressing machine, Jordan Henderson.
On the flank, Jack Grealish’s silky skills should allow him to drag Trent Alexander-Arnold into some sketchy scenarios. Grealish has been fouled a bruising 3.55 times per 90 this season and the 27-year-old has the technique to make TAA look foolish later on.
Match-Ups to watch
Fabinho vs Kevin de Bruyne
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Jack Grealish
Jordan Henderson vs Ilkay Gundogan
My bet Builder Picks of the pack
This is far too good a game to ignore, so I just had to go and sort a bet builder for it. I’ll be going live with that once teams are announced, and you’ll be able to check it out over on my Live Tips Page.