Liverpool vs. Manchester City: Premier League Preview

SBR Staff

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 8:54 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 8:54 PM UTC

So after the festive period chewed up the Premier League and spat it back out, what bones do we have to pick from? A relegation battle? Certainly. A top-four scrap? Potentially. A title race? Not at all.

Liverpool vs. Manchester CityFree Soccer Pick: 2-2 Draw

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In the case of the a fight for the Premier League title, it means matches involved peerless leaders Manchester City will take on a new narrative. And perhaps, given the remarkable standards they’re setting, we should all just be enjoying their football while we can. Because 15 points feels insurmountable, doesn’t it?

City’s meeting with Liverpool on Sunday is an occasion we should just savour, as both teams have played some thrilling football this term.

It feels like the biggest test City will have left this season too. They’ve won at Old Trafford and won at Stamford Bridge already. after all. Anfield, a venue that’ll be white-hot with anticipation, full of backing for the lads in red and full of invective for the lads in sky blue, is a tough place to emerge from unscathed.

Yet City have settled into a habit of making the tough challenges in the Premier League appear easy. Granted, they’ve stuttered home in some encounters lately, but they’ve raised their level above the opposition so well this term. They find a way home.

Pep Guardiola will send his team out with an intention to dominate too, something the Reds haven’t had to contend with frequently this season. Sides deployed in low block after low block have been bussed into Anfield. That’s what makes this match so fascinating, as neither Guardiola nor Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp are coaches that take a backwards step.

Indeed, Klopp will view this as a massive opportunity to become the first team to beat the league leaders. While they may have lost the stardust provided by Philippe Coutinho, there’s so much attacking potency in a front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. When they have space to work in, they're devastating. It’s also a chance for Liverpool to make strides towards cementing their spot as the second best team in the Premier League at the moment.

Manchester United and Chelsea may be ahead of Liverpool in the standings as we enter Week 23, but Klopp has injected some momentum into this team. While they have been accused of being soft and defensively weak at times in 2017-18, they’re unbeaten in 17 games now. They look like a serious side. They’re also finding different ways to win games. In the past we’ve seen Klopp’s side carve opponents to pieces, then struggle when knocked out of their comfort zone. The players, manager and fans have known for a while they can swat opponents aside when all goes well.

What’s been new is the manner they’ve won against Leicester City, Burnley and Everton. All 2-1 wins, all with the team below their best and all performances laced with the gnarly qualities few would associate with Liverpool under Klopp. In fairness to City, they’ve shown they can thrill and grind in equal measure too, as you have to to win 20 and draw two of your 22 Premier League games so far. There aren’t many sides better at what Liverpool do than Liverpool, but City might be one.

It’ll be intriguing to see how Liverpool restructure their midfield without Coutinho and the supply line to the remaining three members of the "Fab Four" will be less frequent. A central trio packed with tenacity and combativeness may be better placed to combat the class City boast in this area, though.

As for City, it’s a massive night for Raheem Sterling, who has previously wilted when up against his former employers. This season he’s showcased a newfound maturity, more end product and may be better prepared to thrive in what is always a testing environment.

In game that promises to be chaotic and attack-focused, it’s tough to say with much conviction how the contest will go. However, the two teams appear on an even keel at the moment and with that in mind an enthralling sharing of the spoils feels like the safe bet.

Other Picks:Over 3.5 Goals (2.25 5Dimes)Manchester City Draw/No Bet (1.62 Bovada)
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