Manchester City vs Liverpool: Match Preview
Domestic football is back after the International break, and what better way to kick things back off in the Premier League than with Manchester City vs Liverpool. Both teams have made a good start to the season, and Infogol’s Analyst will aim to use unique stats and data points to select the best bets for the match.
Pep Guardiola’s team have got off to a very solid start this season, picking up seven points from nine available, but question marks still remain. Though they have spent a lot of money on full-backs, there are still doubts about their defensive capabilities, with many pointing to the fitness of captain Vincent Kompany as being key to their success.
While this is a valid argument, it is worth noting that so far, City haven’t really been troubled in their matches. Even when playing against Everton with 10-men, they were the ones in control of the match. The xG conceded in their three matches this season (1.86) are less than half of what they conceded after three games last season (3.76), suggesting there has been improvements in both playing style and personnel.
City left it very late to win the three points last time out against Bournemouth, with their constant pressure paying off. It was the same story against Brighton, though not as late, and against Everton, suggesting they have the patience to keep creating chances and not panic.
There is no question that Manchester City can hurt teams in many different ways, but the big question will be over their defence: has it improved as suggested? Or are they still vulnerable despite the changes? This will be a good test against a very attack-minded Liverpool team.
Liverpool entered the International break with a stunning victory over Arsenal that was eye catching to say the least. They thumped the Gunners 4-0 at Anfield in what was one of their best performances under Jurgen Klopp. The front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino possessed a bit of everything in attack and Arsenal couldn’t live with them.
They generated 3.38 xG, creating a number of high-probability chances in that game, as they have done in all of their matches so far this season. They are second in the xG table on expected goals for (xGF), behind only Manchester United, and they look to have maintained a similar, if not better, process to last season.
The only question marks about this Liverpool team so far this season has been their defending from set pieces. This issue was brought up after the Watford game in which they conceded two goals from corners, including the eventual equaliser, suggesting no changes had been made from the previous season (where they also had this problem).
If this can be rectified, they will go very close this season, as there are signs that their in-play defending has improved. Conceding just 1.22 xG from their last two games against Crystal Palace and Arsenal is an improvement, so it will be interesting to see if this level is maintained or not.
Two of the best attacking teams in the league are set to meet in this match, so with the high amount of attacking talent on the pitch – and with question marks over defensive capabilities – an entertaining game with both teams to score is expected. Manchester City are rightly favourites and are fancied to win, but there Infogol calculates that there is some value in Liverpool’s price. If Manchester City are to win, it is likely that they will leave it late again, so Manchester City to win the second half looks the value bet.
BTTS @ 1/2
Manchester City @ 17/20
Manchester City to win 2nd half @ 11/10