Man City v Liverpool
Sunday 10 March, 16:30
Live on Sky Sports 1
There are times when Pep Guardiola has had City purring this season.
But just when it appears they look unstoppable, a bump in the road appears and they can't avoid it.
City will be kicking themselves that the latest one caused their exit from the Champions League as they blew a 5-3 first-leg aggregate lead to go out on away goals after losing the return 3-1 in Monaco on Wednesday night.
That came just two games on from a 0-0 home draw with Stoke in which they managed just a single shot on target.
That game killed any outside hopes of catching Chelsea and added to the feeling that they find life harder in Premier League games at the Etihad.
They've won 10 matches on the road in the top-flight this season but just seven at home. That's one less than West Brom.
They've also scored 30 goals on their travels compared to 23 at home.
We all know the deal with Liverpool; they're excellent against the big teams but iffy against the rest.
In nine games against other members of the top six this season they've won five, drawn four and lost none. That would be title-winning form if only they didn't keep messing up against the weaker teams.
Liverpool's success in the big games can be broken down further.
Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte (in the game at Anfield) adopted a more cautious, circumspect approach and the games against Man Utd and Chelsea account for three of Liverpool's four draws in that unbeaten run against the elite.
Spurs, Arsenal and City have all been happy to play their usual open, passing games against Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp's men have feasted on it, using their press and hitting the opposition with devastating effect.
Those wins over Tottenham and Arsenal have helped Liverpool get their Champions League bid back on track and they'd go above City with another win on Sunday.
City are [2.04] favourites to rebound from their European disappointment while Liverpool are [3.95] to do the Premier League double over the Citizens for the second season running. The draw is [3.8].
Liverpool have beaten City five times in the last six PL meetings so getting nearly 3/1 looks a great bet here.
Guardiola, like Klopp, won't deviate from his chosen philosophy and trying to pass the ball out of defence will surely play into Liverpool's hands.
The theory becomes reality when looking at the head-to-head record between these two high-profile managers. Klopp has won five matches against the Spaniard and no other coach has achieved that many.
Liverpool need zip and energy to pull off Klopp's tactics to best effect and that is definitely the case on Sunday. Since February 11th, City have slogged their way through eight matches; Liverpool have played just three times over the same period.
Don't underestimate how important that is to Liverpool, whose 4-1 win in this fixture last season - probably peak Klopp in terms of performance style and result - came after they'd had 13 days off.
City were held at home by Southampton and lost 2-0 at Spurs after playing away in Europe earlier this season so all the ingredients are there for Liverpool to turn them over again.
I like Liverpool in this game but a City goal may be part of the deal too.
Sergio Aguero is the obvious name and anyone backing him at [2.0] has the comforting knowledge that he's scored in all four games he's played against Liverpool at the Etihad.
The better value play is Leroy Sane at [3.35]. The German has scored in seven of his last 13 games and it's easy to envisage him waltzing through the Reds' defence.
For Liverpool, this game has brought out the best in Philippe Coutinho in recent seasons and he's netted five times in eight starts against City including two of the last three at the Etihad.
The Brazilian has been below par in recent games but did score in Liverpool's last away fixture at Leicester.
The 3/1 (Sportsbook) for another Coutinho goal looks too big to ignore.
Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick against City for Southampton last season and could also appeal at [3.25]. He netted in the recent wins against Arsenal and Spurs.
Michael Oliver didn't book any Man City players in his only other trip to the Etihad this season - a 1-1 draw with Everton.
He also didn't brandish a single yellow in Liverpool's defeat at Leicester.
However, he's had more flash points to deal with in recent times and has shown a red card in his last two games - Chelsea v Man Utd and Besiktas v Olympiakos.
Overall, he keeps his cards in his pocket more than most though, averaging a fraction over three yellows per game.
Manchester City have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 12 games in all competitions against Liverpool, shipping 23 in the process (W2 D4 L6).
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Dave Tindall's P/L, 2016/17