Manchester City look to overturn a 3-0 deficit when they take on Liverpool at The Etihad for Tuesday night's mouthwatering Champions League quarter-final second leg tie. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"The duo have seen an average of 3.45 goals per-game in their collective Premier League matches this term with Over 2.5 Goals landing in 70% of matches."
Manchester City v Liverpool
Tuesday 10th April, 19:45
Live on BT Sport
Man City reeling after wretched week
Manchester City missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to seal the Premier League title against their bitter rivals at The Etihad on Saturday after chucking away a two-goal half-time advantage. The performance led head coach Pep Guardiola to admit his system could be flawed.
The Citizens were ripped open by Manchester United and Liverpool in the space of four days, conceding three goals in 16 minutes on Saturday and shipping three first-half goals in 19 minutes at Anfield during a torturous quarter-final first-leg last midweek.
However, the Spaniard remains committed to fluid, attacking football despite losing successive matches for the first time since arriving in England. And that forward-thinking approach, with the Citizens monopolising possession in the final-third, should set us up for another magnificent match on Tuesday night.
Sergio Aguero is expected to start in attack having recovered from injury, while Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker will return after being rested on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether Vincent Kompany can start three games in the space of a week, meaning John Stones could earn a recall to the starting XI.
Liverpool to field untested trio
Liverpool rested and rotated their team for Saturday's drab Merseyside derby draw at Goodison Park. Mohamed Salah wasn't risked, whilst Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all started on the bench.
All five are expected to return to the fold here although Jurgen Klopp is presented with a problem in the heart of midfield as both Emre Can and Jordan Henderson are unavailable. Georginio Wijnaldum should slot into the role alongside James Milner and Oxlade-Chamberlain in an untested trio in what's expected to be the key battleground at The Etihad.
Meanwhile, following the lacklustre goalless draw, Klopp rubber-stamped his approach for the midweek match by confirming his Liverpool side "are not going to sit back". The German added, "We are going to play our game. That is what we always do."
Barcelona in 1986 are the only side to ever come back from losing the first leg of a European Cup/Champions League quarter-final 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of the competition but Manchester City are rated [1.5] favourites to bounce back by beating the Reds in 90 minutes on Tuesday night.
Considering five of the past six sides to lose the first away leg of a Champions League tie 3-0 this century have clinched second leg success, Pep Guardiola's team will be hopeful of turning the tie around. However, none of those five previous winners managed to overturn the three-goal deficit.
City had W4-D0-L0 by an aggregate of 13-2 when entertaining Big Six rivals before Saturday's disaster and the hosts are rated [2.16] shots to overcome a -1.5 Asian Handicap hurdle here. With Liverpool [6.60] having W0-D1-L3 at Big Six sides this season, shipping 14 goals, the Citizens should be encouraged.
But the Reds will fancy their chances of snatching an away goal against a defence that's leaked six goals in a week. Should the Merseysiders grab a goal, Pep's posse would require five goals and so the [5.60] available on Man City qualifying isn't appealing enough to entertain.
Liverpool limited City to zero shots on-target at Anfield although a repeat at The Etihad is unlikely and a goal-filled game is again expected. The duo have seen an average of 3.45 goals per-game in their collective Premier League matches this term with Over 2.5 Goals [1.41] landing in 70% of matches.
With Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals too short to attack, and City the most likely winners as they go hunting a big victory, the most sensible play would be to back the Citizens to win and Both Teams To Score at a very fair 13/8 on Betfair Sportsbook.
Mark's 2017/18 Profit/Loss
Staked: 150.00 pts
Returned: 168.29 pts
P/L: +18.29 pts