Liverpool v Manchester City: Gripping rivalry to deliver another titanic tussle
It's the biggest game of the Premier League season so far, as Liverpool and Manchester City look to go three points clear of each other at the top. Kevin Hatchard expects a thriller at Anfield.
"I just can't see this being anything else but an intense, high-octane shootout, with so many outstanding attacking talents on show."
Liverpool v Manchester City
Sunday 07 October, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports
City hoodoo counts for little until trophies arrive
There's an argument to say that you learn more from defeats than you do from victories, and if that's true, Liverpool will have gleaned plenty from Wednesday's disastrous Champions League trip to Naples. Jurgen Klopp admitted his side deserved to lose to a Napoli side that took advantage of their every weakness. Yes, the winning goal from Lorenzo Insigne came agonisingly late, but it was just reward for a team that punished a surprisingly anxious and disjointed Liverpool display.
Of course, that 1-0 loss was only Liverpool's second of the season, and neither of those reverses have come in the Premier League. However, Klopp's exciting progress with this team means that this group has to deal with more scrutiny. The bar is set higher, the margin for error is miniscule.
Opta tell us that Klopp's record of seven wins against Guardiola is unprecedented - no other coach has bested the Catalan schemer more often. However, Klopp knows that counts for little. In Guardiola's three seasons at Bayern Munich, he won the Bundesliga three times, and two of those were while Klopp was at Borussia Dortmund. Although Liverpool beat City last season in three of the clubs' four meetings, it was Guardiola who lifted two trophies, while the charismatic German was left empty-handed.
This is Liverpool's chance to make a statement, to go three points clear at the top of the Premier League and show everyone that they really are in the mix for their first league title since 1990. Recent history is in their favour - they are unbeaten in their last 17 home games against Manchester City, and have gone 24 Premier League games without defeat at Anfield.
Midfielder Naby Keita is struggling to be fit after a back spasm, so skipper Jordan Henderson could return to the starting XI. Front three Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all fit and should play.
Can Pep solve the Anfield puzzle?
There aren't many things that stump Pep Guardiola, but it appears Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have given him many sleepless nights. The Champions League exit to the Reds in April was one of the rare occasions when the City boss has chosen to try to tame the opposition, rather than steamroller them using his own attacking principles. It didn't work.
Guardiola has lost both of his Premier League games at Anfield, and Opta tell us he has never lost three straight league matches away to the same opposition. Also, City have lost just one of their last 25 away games in the top flight, and they are yet to taste defeat in the PL this term.
Kevin De Bruyne is back in training, and will be given the chance to prove his fitness, as will Ilkay Gundogan and Benjamin Mendy. Fabian Delph has been ruled out.
Draw No Bet the way to go if you back the hosts
Liverpool's home form in the Premier League and their excellent recent results against Manchester City explain their status as slight favourites here. With Liverpool trading at [2.6], there is scope to back the hosts using the Draw No Bet market at [1.9].
Against a side of City's quality, I would always want to get a couple of results onside, and if the game is drawn, DNB allows your stake to be returned.
Excellent keepers to be regularly tested
In Brazilians Alisson and Ederson, these clubs have two of the best keepers in the Premier League, and I expect them to have busy afternoons. The last edition of this Premier League fixture saw Liverpool win 4-3, and the five most recent clashes have all featured at least three goals.
I just can't see this being anything else but an intense, high-octane shootout, with so many outstanding attacking talents on show. I'll therefore go for Over 3.5 Goals at [2.6].
Mane to make his mark
Liverpool's Sadio Mane seems to love playing against Manchester City. The Senegalese striker has scored four league goals against them, and only has a better record against Crystal Palace. He's trading at [3.15] to score in 90 minutes.
On the City side of things, Sergio Aguero has been passed fit, and is [2.22], but bear in mind he has never scored at Anfield in 11 attempts for City and Atletico Madrid.
If you want to build your own acca by using the Same Game Multi feature, you could back Liverpool to win, Over 3.5 Goals and Sadio Mane to score at combined odds of [9.45].
Kevin Hatchard 2018-19 Premier League P/L
Points Staked: 12
Points Returned: 15.82
P/L: +3.82 points
Back Over 3.5 Goals at [2.6]
Back Sadio Mane to score at [3.15]