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Both sides enjoyed successful outings on Tuesday as Man City took a 3-0 win over Olympiakos and Liverpool made a statement as they downed Atalanta 5-0.
The hosts are playing catch up having gone just W3-D2-L1 in the league so far, while the visitors face their first major test in the top flight without talismanic defender Virgil van Dijk.
Losing the Netherlands captain was always going to be a major blow, especially with stand-in Fabinho also suffering injury, but Joel Matip is back in contention now and neither Rhys Williams nor Nat Phillips have looked out of place.
In fact, Liverpool have conceded just twice in the five games since van Dijk was scythed down by Jordan Pickford, though it has surely helped that Alisson has returned between the sticks for the last four of those, while the likes of Sheffield Utd and Midtjylland were always unlikely to offer too much attacking ambition.
At the other end, regular scorers Mo Salah and Sadio Mane both got in on the act against Atalanta, but summer signing Diogo Jota stole the show with a hat-trick, continuing his purple patch.
Indeed, he’s pushing Roberto Firmino hard for his starting place with six goals in four matches now as he scored in each appearance.
Man City To Beat Liverpool
City haven’t lost at home to Liverpool in the league since 2015, winning the last three, and so we wouldn’t want to go against them.
They’ve now won five of six games in all competitions, most notably over Arsenal, Porto and Marseille, and look a decent price to win at the Etihad given Liverpool have lost six times on their travels since February.
City conceded just two goals over these recent outings as summer signing Ruben Dias has proved himself integral at centre-back and has calmed them in defence, while both he and Aymeric Laporte were rested midweek, though we wouldn’t expect another shutout here.
Liverpool have scored at least twice in six of their last seven in all competitions and so it’s understandable that both teams to score is at short odds.
Aside from Jota’s recent form, Mo Salah is enjoying a good campaign with nine goals in 12 appearances, as his midweek strike took him level with club legend Steven Gerrard on 21 Champions League goals.
Meanwhile, City rarely fail to score at the Etihad, where they’ve netted at least twice in in all but one of their past 13 league outings, but while both teams to score is best left alone, backing goals should prove more profitable.
Over 3.5 Goals
Since Liverpool became a real force under Klopp in 2017/18, seven of nine head to heads have seen at least three goals, with the last two meetings each featuring four strikes.
The Reds have seen over 3.5 goals land in seven of 10 road trips in all competitions since July, while the same has occurred in six of City’s past 11 at the Etihad. City have certainly improved at the back but they remain top heavy, as are Liverpool in the absence of van Dijk, so more goals should be on the agenda.
There are further absentees in this clash. Klopp will be without Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while Guardiola is missing Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho.
The loss of the latter should harm the protection City’s backline receive, though they have greater options to cope without Aguero.
Surprisingly, since the start of last season, City have won just 55% of matches Aguero has started, compared with 75% without him, whereas their win percentage jumps from 45% to 86% when Gabriel Jesus starts.
A similar patter emerges for goals scored, with City registering over a goal more per game when the Brazilian is in the line-up.
Having scored eight goals in his last 10 appearances across all competitions, Jesus looks the pick of the bunch to register a goal at some stage, though having just come back from injury, we’d wait to see if he makes the starting line-up before giving him our backing.