Man City v Liverpool: Reds can maintain record

Jurgen Klopp has a great record against the top teams
Jurgen Klopp has a great record against the top teams
Join today View market

The draw offers real value when Manchester City host Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, says Dave Tindall...

"Away from home, Liverpool are unbeaten against the elite under Klopp since he started his Anfield reign with a 0-0 draw at Spurs just under two years ago."

Back the Draw at [4.1]

Man City v Liverpool
Saturday, 12:30
Live on Sky Sports

City not convincing

It's not exactly been plain sailing for Pep Guardiola's men this season even if they do have seven points out of nine.

On opening day, it took them 70 minutes to break down Brighton. In their first home game of the season they needed an 82nd-minute equaliser to rescue a point against Everton. True, new signing Kyle Walker had been sent off in the 44th minute but Wayne Rooney had put the Toffees ahead when it was still 11 v 11.

And last time, against a Bournemouth side that are now without a point in their opening three games, Raheem Sterling had to score deep into injury-time to secure the victory.

Everton were decent opposition but Liverpool are a clear step up and it's worth noting that, last season, City won more points away from home than they did at the Etihad.

They failed to win eight of their 19 home matches and Guardiola still seems to be perfecting the ideal formula or sometimes even trying to solve puzzles that aren't even there.

Klopp loves the big games

I was very bullish about Liverpool beating Arsenal in my preview two weeks ago and, after the 4-0 win, was actually kicking myself that I didn't dig out a bet to reflect the expected dominance.

Part of the reason was Jurgen Klopp's outstanding record against other top teams which now shows just one defeat in 22 matches facing sides which finished in the top seven last term (Won 12, Drawn 9).

Away from home, Liverpool are unbeaten against the elite under Klopp since he started his Anfield reign with a 0-0 draw at Spurs just under two years ago.

However, let's break it down further. Klopp loves playing against Arsene Wenger (14 goals in four games!), finds defensive-minded Jose Mourinho a tough nut to crack but quite likes going head-to-head with the expansive Guardiola.

In a rivalry that started in the Bundesliga, Klopp has five wins and a draw in their 10 meetings. Last season, Liverpool took four points off City (1-0 at Anfield, 1-1 at the Etihad).

With his explosive front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah having already banged in nine goals between them, Klopp has the tools to cause City real damage on the break.

They'll go into the game sat second in the table and with the expectant excitement of a midweek Champions League game against Sevilla to look forward to. City are away in Feyenoord the same night incidentally.

City odds-on favourites

City's odds-on price of [1.9] seem more a derivative of their status as title favourites rather than any reflection of Liverpool's superb record in big games. In which case, both the draw at [4.1] and the Liverpool win at [4.3] offer value.

I want both running for me but will weight stakes in favour of the draw which just looks the more realistic outcome for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, City have only lost one of their last eight home games against Liverpool and just one of 23 against all opposition.

Secondly, when Klopp took Liverpool to Manuel Pellegrini's City two seasons ago and scored a joyous 4-1 win, he had Philippe Coutinho and Firmino firing on all cylinders.

This time, we don't even know where Coutinho will be on Saturday (pitch, bench, hiding behind a bush in shame) while Firmino has had to endure the long flight back from Brazil.

Liverpool could still nick the win (certainly worth half a point) but the draw deserves the bigger stake.

Goals galore expected

No chance of this being a pick 'em when looking at the Over/Under 2.5 Goals prices.

It's two lethal attacks against two dubious defences and that equates to Overs trading at just [1.57]. Unders is [2.66] although note that it would have landed in both Man City v Liverpool matches last season.

That said, plenty of neutrals and, indeed fans of both sides, will be looking at the bigger prices such as Over 3.5 at [2.4], Over 4.5 at [4.1] and even Over 5.5 at [8.0].

Scorers make plenty of appeal

By contrast, while the Overs prices on total match goals look tight, the prices about individual scorers appear generous - certainly on the Liverpool side and especially with the rumours that Vincent Kompany is a doubt after picking up a knock and missing training.

Firmino [3.8], Sadio Mane [3.8] and Mo Salah [3.85] all stand out and there's no way we'd see those sort of prices against lesser teams who let in virtually the same amount as goals as City do (as a comparison, Burnley (20) conceded just three more home goals than City (17) last term).

That's the beauty of the 'To Score' market against big teams with iffy defences. There is value to be had.

I'll go with Mane at [3.7].

Guardiola tried to plug in Leroy Sane as a left wing-back against Everton and the German looked like a fish out of water at times, making the mistake that led to Rooney's goal.

If Salah can get space down the right, he may be able to cross for Mane to come in off the other wing and smash one in.

To be honest, Mane could score in a variety of ways and, although City have a few speedsters of their own, you'd fancy the man from Senegal to win any foot race.

Mane scored a hat-trick for Southampton against City in May, 2016 and I'll take him to net another here at appealing odds.

For the hosts, Sergio Aguero has scored in all five matches he's played against Liverpool at the Etihad. Gabriel Jesus has netted eight in his 11 Premier League starts.

I fully expect City to score and these two are the most likely but odds of [2.1] for both don't appeal anywhere near as much as the prices on the Liverpool boys.

Raheem Sterling after his two goals in two games? Nope, he's suspended for the match against his former team after that controversial red card for over-celebrating his last-gasp winner at Bournemouth.

Ref Watch

Jonathan Moss gets the gig for the clash of the two North-West giants.

The West Yorkshire official has shown 10 yellows in his three matches so far. He sent Nolito off last season but hasn't booked a single City player the last two times he's taken charge of them.

He's only booked one Liverpool player in his last two Reds matches so, despite the occasion, there are grounds to think these two clean, footballing sides might not cause him to reach for his pocket too often.

Recommended Bets

1pt Draw at [4.1]
0.5pts Liverpool win at [4.3]
1pt Sadio Mane To Score at [3.8]

Opta Stat

Sadio Mane has scored seven goals in his last nine Premier League games, including a goal in each of his last four appearances in the competition.

Graeme Le Saux's Match Verdict

Dave Tindall's P/L, 2017/18

Staked: 9pts
Returned: 6.78pts
P/L: -2.22pts

Join today View market

Read past articles