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Premier League : Manchester City v Liverpool Preview, betting, and probable starting teams with Liverpool looking to extend their lead at the top.
Manchester City Team News
Manchester City take on Liverpool in the Etihad this weekend in a clash of the giants. City currently sit in 10th position on 11 points with a game at hand. A win could lift them in a tie for fourth position.
The start of the season was a rocky one for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. Many criticised their sluggish start claiming that perhaps a rebuild was needed to fix the team. Speculation suggested that Pep would grow tired of City and leave for a more attractive proposition such as PSG.
These comments came after City were held to a draw with Leeds and West Ham and battered 5-2 by Leicester City at home. The Manchester side have spent money rather rashly and poorly in the transfer market over the last few windows.
Problems At The Back
Many of the signings brought into replace the likes Fernandinho, Silva and Kompany have not reached the heights expected. One positive signing has been that of a young Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth.
The centre back was brought in this summer but has found the transition difficult. His entry into the team’s defence comes at a time when they are at their most vulnerable. Since the 1-1 draw with West Ham results have improved dramatically.
City have won the last three games in a row and have kept clean sheets in all three. However, ahead of this weekends clash with Liverpool, Pep will be without some key players.
Talisman Aguero, defensive midfielder Fernandinho and left back Mendy are ruled out for the weekends action. With the depth City have on their bench filling these gaps shouldn’t be a problem.
The injured players can’t be replaced for their level of skill and experience that they bring.Manchester City will likely line out in their normal 4-3-3 formation. However, Pep may decide to stray away from this formation as his defence may be still a bit fragile.
Liverpool Team News
Jurgen Klopp’s men sit top of the table on 15 points after 7 games. A win against Manchester City this week could put them three points clear of Leicester City.
Liverpool like Man City have had some shaky defensive performances recently when they lost 7-2 against Aston Villa and narrowly beat Leeds.
Van Dijk Out For Season
Their issues were made far worse when star defender Virgil Van Dijk was injured in a horror challenged against Everton. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford lunged in two footed on the Dutchman ruling him out for the season.
Pickford avoided any kind of punishment as VAR ruled out the challenge for an offside that occurred beforehand. Liverpool delt very well with the absence of Van Dijk missing as defensive midfielder Fabinho slotted in seamlessly.
Temporarily it seemed as though Fabinho would be able to make the position his own until the January window. Liverpool would have the time to scout and purchase a good replacement for the centre back.
The team were almost delt a wicked blow as Fabinho went off injured in last weeks champions league game against Midtjylland. Initially reported that the Brazilian would be out for three months have been updated and the midfielder will return after the international break.
Liverpool have since had extremely good results with three wins from the last three in both League and Champions League. 23 year old Nathaniel Phillips and 19 year old Rhys Williams have filled in at centre back excellently.
The question is, which of the two will Klopp be mostly likely to put in defence this weekend.
Liverpool are predicted to line out in their trademark 4-3-3 formation. This has been Klopp’s go to formation for the last season or two that has brought them unprecedented success. Especially against Manchester City.
Predicted Result – Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool
I predict a fast paced entertaining watch, one that will ultimately end in stalemate. Of the two teams I feel Liverpool will be the more comfortable side. Klopp’s men have already overcome the hurdle of losing two big players and responded with wins.
They can only take confidence from this going into such a big game. All the pressure lies with Manchester City for this game. If Peps team are to lose they will remain in 10th place 9 points off the lead.
A huge mountain to climb for any team. The game will be played at electrifying pace with both teams cancelling each other out with similar formations. Man City will get their best chances from the magic of Belgian Kevin De Bruyne in central midfield.
He will play eye of a needle passes through the Liverpool lines to the pacey Mahrez and Jesus. City will likely sit back when Liverpool have the ball and sit deep to protect their weak central defenders.
Liverpool will press high and try to win the ball back high up the pitch from a low moral defence. I see the game ending in a draw. Although its early in the season the game is of massive importance.
Neither side can afford to lose when the league hasn’t fully taken shape yet. Both teams have the firepower to score a goal a piece but will take the draw if offered.
Sunday 4:30 pm Sky Sports Main Event/Football
Venue Etihad Stadium
Previous Meeting Man City 4-0 Liverpool (Premier League 19/20)
Referee Craig Pawson
Odds Man City Win 10/11, Draw 11/4, Liverpool Win 23/10
PREDICTED STARTING TEAMS
Starting Eleven: Moraes, K.Walker, Ake, J.Stones, Zinchenko, K.De Bruyne, Gundagon, Rodri, R.Mahrez, G.Jesus, Sterling,
Subs: Dias, Torres, Steffen, Laporte, Foden, B.Silva, J.Cancelo, E.Garcia, F.Nmecha, Bernabe, J.Trafford
Injured: Mendy/Aguero/Fernandinho (Muscle)
Discipline: 9 Y, 0 R
Top Scorer: Foden/Sterling – 2 goals
Starting Eleven: Alisson, Gomes, Robertson, Alexandre Arnold, Phillips, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita, Salah, Mane, Firmino,
Subs: Milner, Adrian, Jones, Minamino, Shaquiri, Origi, Matip, Williams, Jota, Tsimikas,
Doubtful: Thiago (Knee)
Injured: Van Dijk (Knee), Oxlade Chamberlain (Knee), Fabinho (hamstring)
Discipline: 6 Y, 0R
Top Scorer: Salah– 7 goals
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