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Manchester City begin a run of three huge Premier League games with the visit of Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. With just a single point separating the teams, in third and fourth respectively, there is no room for mistakes, as both Arsenal and Manchester United compete for Champions League qualifying places.
It was a week to forget for Pep Guardiola and his players, as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Monaco. Having taken a two-goal lead to France, Manchester City continued to play an attacking formation, with only one defensive minded player ahead of the back four. This tactic seemed to be backfire as Monaco scored two goals in the first half, to wipe out Manchester City’s lead and take control of the tie. Guardiola’s team improved after the break but it wasn’t enough and they were eliminated on the away goals rule.
If Manchester City are to take maximum points from this game they must be ready from the first whistle. Against Monaco, the Citizens were too slow out of the blocks and were dominated by their opponents. This cannot happen against Liverpool, who have performed very well against the top teams in the Premier League this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s team did not have a game in mid-week, so they have enjoyed plenty of preparation time for this match. The display against Burnley last weekend was poor, so Klopp will be hoping for an improvement this week and given the stature of the opponent, he should see one.
Manchester City are still without Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus for this game but every other player is fit and available for selection. Trends show Manchester City are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games and in their last nine at home in all competitions. In fact, Manchester City have lost only one of their last nineteen home games, which is a great record. On top of that, Guardiola will be pleased to see his team have kept three clean sheets in a row in the Premier League and would love to extend that run come the final whistle of this match.
Liverpool travel to the Etihad without Daniel Sturridge and doubts over Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson. Dejan Lovren is back in training but this match may come too soon for the Croatian defender. After a shaky start to 2017, trends show Liverpool have won three of their last four Premier League games, including back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Burnley at Anfield. However, away from home in the league, Liverpool have failed to win in their last four, drawing at Sunderland and Manchester United and losing at Hull and Leicester. The good news for Liverpool fans is the fact the Reds have defeated Manchester City in their last four meetings, including the Premier League match at Anfield earlier this season.
There’s no doubt Liverpool are a team who rise to the big occasion and with the television cameras rolling at the Etihad, we should expect a good performance from Klopp’s team. Manchester City will be eager to put the loss in mid-week behind them but will find this game tough and may have to settle for a score draw.