We have taken a bit of a hiatus from Premier League previews over the holiday season, but if there was one game to feature this week – it is certainly the epic showdown between Manchester City and Liverpool this Thursday afternoon.
Many pundits pegged Man City to easily repeat again for the 2018/19 season but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have proved that they are more than just viable opponents. Liverpool is vying for their first title since 1990, and this game will go a long way in settling who hoists the cup come May.
Even for those of you who are typically on the fence about whether or not to tune in for a soccer match, expect a high level of entertainment with plenty of chances and goals as well. The way the table currently sits, Manchester City trail Liverpool by a full seven points. Man City has been open in the lead-up to this match, discussing the importance of going for the victory and the full three points. They’re not playing for a draw, they are gunning for a win. This should make for a thrilling match, so be sure to read on below the odds for a tactical analysis and betting preview for Manchester City and Liverpool to close out Matchday 21.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool Betting Odds:
Manchester City (+102)
Over 3 (+110)
Under 3 (-130)
Manchester City vs. Liverpool Pick:
As the goals total indicates, expect a high-octane match with both teams trading chances and playing offensively. Look for the skill of Manchester City to dictate the early tempo and pace of the game, as Pep Guardiola’s side will be gunning to take a full three points from this crucial fixture. Liverpool is content to sit back, absorb pressure, and then hopefully catch Man City napping on the counter-attack. That is often when Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are at their best, and if you’ll recall from the City/Liverpool Champions League match last season, that formula led Liverpool to a stunning victory.
This time around, expect a more focused and hungrier Man City side to remind the Premier League that this is still their league and they remain the defending champions for a reason. Expect City to start out very aggressively and press the Liverpool defenders and keeper when the ball is at their feet. There are mistakes within the Reds’ backline and I believe that the talent of City up front can expose them. Look for Guardiola to go with Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling up front, and that blend of skill and speed could overwhelm the Liverpool defence. City will also likely employ a high line out of their back four, and keep the pressure constant on the Reds.
Both teams have endured some injuries of late, but Man City will also receive a bigger boost in this category. Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne will both likely be match fit and could play key roles at winning the midfield and distributing the ball up top to their speedy forwards.
Look for Man City to make Liverpool uncomfortable and force them to defend for the vast majority of the match. Their pace and skill and quality throughout the lineup is still the best in the entire Premier League, and City’s desperation should win out. Expect the ball movement of City to put Liverpool’s shape into disarray, and that separation should lead to a full three points. Something along the lines of a 3-1 scoreline to Manchester City seems fitting for Thursday evening’s big clash at the Etihad.
PICK = Manchester City (+102)