What a way to finish 2016, as Liverpool welcome Manchester City to Anfield for the final match of the year in the Premier League. It’s Jurgen Klopp vs Pep Guardiola and second vs third, in what has the makings of being one of the best matches we are going to see this season.
Having defeated Stoke City 4-1 at home in their previous match, it’s now three games won in a row for Liverpool in the Premier League. It has been a good return to form for Klopp’s team, having lost at Bournemouth and dropped points at home in a 2-2 draw with West Ham. Liverpool were a goal down to Stoke on Tuesday evening but rallied well and came back with 4 unanswered goals to seal the win. Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to score and this will give the England international a bit of confidence, ahead of this match, although he is likely to remain on the bench.
Manchester City needed a little time to break down Hull City in their last Premier League game but having won a penalty in the second half, went on to win the match comfortably. Much like Liverpool, Manchester City have recovered well from a defeat, to win their last three league games. The 2-1 win over Arsenal was especially significant and the points were won without Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho, who were both suspended.
The Argentine and Brazilian will be available for selection for this match and will come straight back into the starting XI. For Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho, who has an excellent goal scoring record against Manchester City, could make a comeback following a spell out injured. Trends show Coutinho has scored 5 goals in six matches against Manchester City, so Guardiola will be hoping the Brazilian doesn’t make it in time. If he does, it may be worth backing the Brazilian to grab a goal in this game.
Every neutral football fan is hoping for a high scoring match and it shouldn’t disappoint. Trends show Liverpool have scored 16 goals in their previous five home Premier League games, at an average of 3.2 goals per game. Manchester City have also been enjoying their football away from home in the attacking third, scoring 13 goals in their last five away league games, at an average of 2.6 per game.
If that wasn’t enough to whet the appetite, statistics show Liverpool have kept only two clean sheets at home in the Premier League this season. Manchester City have kept two clean sheets away from home in the league this season and both defences have been criticised for their lack of security at the back. It would be a huge shock if both teams do not get on the scoresheet in this game, on more than one occasion. There could easily be over 3.5 goals scored in the match.
In terms of the winner, Manchester City have a poor record at Anfield and you must go back to 2003, to find the last time they defeated Liverpool away from home. However, six of the last nine Premier League games at Anfield have ended in a draw and we could be looking at the same outcome in this game. Think back to the classic meeting between Liverpool and Newcastle in 1996, with the home side sneaking the win 4-3. Fingers crossed, we are in for similar entertainment this time around, with very little to split the teams.