Liverpool vs Manchester City Match Preview
Super Sunday sees Liverpool host leaders Manchester City in what should be a cracker at Anfield. The Reds will be seeking revenge after their 5-0 thrashing last time the teams met, though they will have to do it without Philippe Coutinho. Our Analyst has previewed the game, using underlying stats to produce the best bets.
Liverpool would have been buoyed by their FA Cup victory over Everton last Friday night, only to find out after the game that one of the ‘fab four’ was on his way to Barcelona. Philippe Coutinho was Liverpool’s third most productive player, according to expected goal involvement (xGI), so it will be interesting to see how they fill that void.
And then there were three. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane undoubtedly have the quality to cause Manchester City problems in this game, and it is highly likely that if Liverpool are to get on the scoresheet, it will involve one of them. These three have scored 62% of Liverpool’s goals this season, and contributed to 54% of their expected goals for (xGF).
Liverpool’s three greatest attacking threats
They come against a team that hammered them 5-0 in the reverse fixture, albeit they did have 10-men, so this should be the perfect game for new centre-back Virgil van Dijk to show he is worth the staggering fee Liverpool paid for him.
The Reds are unbeaten in 13 league games, with their performances deserving of the results they have been getting, in turn lifting them into second in Infogol’s expected table. This means that so far this season, their process has been the second best in the league and only bettered by the team they face here.
A big performance needed from Liverpool
Manchester City just keep on winning. Though their ridiculous winning streak was brought to an end by Crystal Palace, they bounced back in style with a dominant 3-1 win over Watford. They are now 15 points clear in the league and cruising, but they will be looking to make another statement here at a ground where Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all failed to win this season.
Gabriel Jesus’s injury is a blow, but there is no question that they have the squad to cope. Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane have all been involved (goals + assists) in over 13 goals this season, so they aren’t short of firepower.
Manchester attack City share it around
They are generating 2.6 xG per game in the league this season, and conceding just 0.8 xG, showing their dominance up to this point. Pep Guardiola has got them working like a well-oiled machine, where every player knows their job.
Even with a suspect looking defensive line including midfielder turned left-back Fabian Delph, they rarely look threatened – albeit against teams with a much less attacking threat than Liverpool. If they are to face a test, this is expected to be the toughest of their season against an in-form Liverpool side at Anfield.
City’s toughest test to date
Selection – Manchester City win @ 5/4
Though this is expected to be a tough examination, especially with the majority of their players playing in the Carabao Cup in midweek, the visitors are the better team of the two and the more balanced. At 5/4, they look great value to record yet another win.
Selection – Over 3.5 goals @ 5/4
There will be a plethora of attacking talent on the pitch between both teams, and both will get chances. Liverpool’s defence continues to look shaky, while Manchester City’s has it’s suspect moments. The Infogol model thinks there will be around 3.6 xG in the match, so over 3.5 goals is put forward.
Selection – Aguero to score first @ 7/2
Sergio Aguero has the best expected goal involvement per 90 minutes of any player on the pitch, and given that he is playing up front in the best attacking team in the league, Aguero to score first looks the best of the goal scorer bets.