The sides who have dominated the Premier League in each of the last two seasons meet when Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday (11:30am ET).
So who will get the better of this titanic clash? Read on for our Man City vs Liverpool predictions and full preview, finishing with EPL game betting picks.
In truth, no one has got near these two. In 2018-19, Man City pipped Liverpool by a single point, 98 to 97, with the next nearest team a full 27 points back. Last season, Liverpool won the title with a league-record 99 points, 18 more than Man City, who were themselves 15 points clear of third.
It will be interesting to see if that dominance continues into this 2020-21 EPL season, particularly given that City have made a relatively uncertain start to the campaign. They have a very solid 11 points on the board from six matches, but their attack has looked uncharacteristically flat during the early running.
Pep Guardiola’s side needed just a single goal to emerge with all three points from their trip to Sheffield United last weekend. They dominated the shot count against their struggling hosts and created a couple of very presentable chances, only to have to lean upon a long-range effort from Kyle Walker to secure victory. It was just their ninth goal of the season.
That is a pretty meagre return for a team who have averaged 2.5 goals per match or better in each of the last three campaigns. They were the Premier League’s top scorers last time around with 102 goals, way ahead of Liverpool’s second-best total of 85. It also isn’t just the top-line numbers that have regressed, shot numbers and expected goals have done so too.
It must be noted that injuries have limited Man City’s only two recognized centre forwards, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, to a combined 200 minutes of action. Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and off-season arrival Ferran Torres have deputized to varying degrees of success. Torres, previously a winger, has looked quite good in the role, scoring in consecutive Champions League games, including in the 3-0 win over Olympiakos on Tuesday.
Guardiola and his staff also seem particularly keen to heal the team’s vulnerability to counter-attacks, perhaps for now removing some of their focus from the attack. Whatever the case may be, with a very talented squad that has again received fairly significant investment, it is likely that they will eventually settle upon a workable formula.
Man City are certainly not in a bad position in terms of points. If they were to defeat Liverpool on Sunday they would be just two points behind the reigning champions and current leaders with a game in hand.
For their part, Liverpool have suffered one embarrassing and anomalous 2-7 thrashing at the hands of Aston Villa but have otherwise looked pretty much the same clinically efficient side that swept aside all challengers to claim their first league title in 30 years last season. Both their match-by-match and overall metrics have been very strong.
Jurgen Klopp’s side moved to the head of the table with a 2-1 victory at home to West Ham last weekend. The visitors took an early lead and did a pretty good job of limiting Liverpool thereafter, but a late first-half penalty, dispatched by Mohamed Salah, levelled the scores before in the 85th minute. Diogo Jota latched onto a neat Xherdan Shaqiri pass to score his third league goal since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers and give his side the win.
That was the sixth time in seven matches that Liverpool had failed to keep a clean sheet and if they do have a comparative weak point, it would appear to be the defence. They conceded a league-low 33 goals in their title-winning campaign, but even if the Villa defeat is removed, they’ve still conceded eight times across their other six matches to date. Included, they’ve conceded nearly half the number of goals they let in during the entirety of last season.
Man City have had problems with injuries in attack so far this season, while Liverpool’s have come in defence, most damagingly to central defender Virgil van Dijk.
Even with that taken into account, it is Liverpool who have made the better start to the campaign. In the Premier League, only Tottenham have scored more goals than them, and they scored five more in thrashing Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday. The home side prevailed in both of the league fixtures between these sides last season, but it feels like The Reds have a decent chance of bucking that trend and coming away with all three points. So our Man City vs Liverpool predictions for this EPL match preview are just the one: