Manchester City vs Liverpool: In-form City host erratic Liverpool in battle for the top 4

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Scrap for Champions League places intensifies

Sunday’s late Barclays Premier League kickoff looks more and more like a crucial battle for points in the race for the automatic Champions League qualification places.

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have both endured relatively mixed first seasons in England. Liverpool boss Klopp started the campaign like a house on fire but The Reds endured a difficult start to 2017 which saw them fall off the title pace. Guardiola’s Manchester City side started slowly but are now unbeaten in the Premier League since January 15th.

City are ahead of Liverpool by a point and have the further advantage of a game in hand on their visitors today. If Guardiola’s side get all three points against Liverpool then the Merseysiders might be cut adrift in the race for automatic entry into Europe’s premier club competition next season.  

Team News

Man City

Ruled out: Gundogan, Jesus

Possible starting XI (4-1-4-1): Caballero; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sané; Agüero

Liverpool

Ruled out: Ings, Grujic, Ejaria, Sturridge

Doubtful: Henderson, Lovren, Firmino

Possible starting XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Lallana, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Coutinho

Key Players

Leroy Sané has been in sparkling form for City. He scored in their Champions League defeat in Monaco and the young German has also been relatively prolific in domestic football. Guardiola’s 4141 system allows the likes of Sane and David Silva to tuck in and have a say from central areas, despite both players ostensibly being wide men.

While Jordan Henderson is still out injured, much of the tempo-dictating responsibilities have fallen to Emre Can. The German is adept in a box-to-box role but he is now settling into a deeper role and his technical quality is important while skipper Henderson remains sidelined.

Key Match Stats

  • Man City have kept 3 consecutive Premier League clean sheets.
  • Man City are undefeated in their last 6 home games in the Premier League.
  • Liverpool are undefeated in their last 5 matches against Manchester City in all competitions.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in the last 5 matches between Manchester City and Liverpool in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium.

Picks Manchester City’s recent form makes them justified favourites to beat Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon. ClickaBet offered odds of 1.98 for a home win and that’s long enough to be worth a punt.

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