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Jan 12, 2018
Jan 12, 2018

Premier League preview: Liverpool vs. Manchester City

How style of play may play a pivotal role

The importance of Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool vs. Manchester City betting: Where is the value?

Premier League preview: Liverpool vs. Manchester City

This Sunday, Liverpool welcome Manchester City to Anfield, looking to become the first team to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Citizens this season. Can Jurgen Klopp’s reds continue their impressive run or will Manchester City recommence their fine form from 2017? Where is there value in the Liverpool vs. Manchester City odds? Read on for some expert insight.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City betting: Live odds

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Liverpool vs. Manchester City odds: City’s biggest test?

No team in Premier League history has ever made a start quite as strong as Pep Guardiola’s current crop. Twenty wins, two draws, no defeats and 2.82 points per game see Manchester City’s class of 2017/18 on the brink of history.

Another 16 games with the same points per game ratio and Manchester City would become the first team to break the 100 points total in the Premier League:

Most points at the end of a Premier League season

Team (season)Points
Manchester City (2017/18) 107 (projected)
Chelsea (2004/05) 95
Chelsea (2016/17) 93
Manchester United (1993/94) 92

An unbeaten run similar to their first half of the season would also see Manchester City become just the second team to go a Premier League season without notching a loss since the Arsenal Invincibles of 2003/04.

Their biggest hurdle to an unbeaten season may come this weekend, however, as Pep Guardiola’s Citizens travel to Anfield to take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Of the 25 goals Liverpool have conceded in the Premier League, 16 of those have come in the last 15 minutes of either half.

Liverpool join Manchester City at the top of the Premier League form table. They have won 14 points and are unbeaten in their last six games, only this weekend’s opponents have amassed more points recently (16).

The loss of Coutinho to Barcelona will no doubt have dented Liverpool’s attacking threat, but with the likes of Firmino, Salah and Mane still spearheading the red’s frontline (31 goals and 13 in the Premier League), there is still a lot of firepower for Manchester City’s defence to deal with.

Liverpool’s wingers Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah have been particularly impressive during this campaign. If Manchester City have shown any weakness this season (and weaknesses have been few and far between), it is in their full-back positions - an area that Liverpool will be looking to exploit this weekend.

Fabian Delph has played admirably in place of injured Benjamin Mendy, but he applied his trade in the middle of the pitch and has had difficulties when fronted one-on-one in wide positions. On the other side of the pitch, Kyle Walker’s marauding runs have churned out multiple chances, but it does leave gaps between himself and his centre-halves, which Liverpool’s explosive wing play can exploit.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City: Style of play

This Sunday’s clash sees two contrasting styles that may work in tandem to create an intriguing tie.

On one side, you have Pep Guardiola’s pass-centric soccer; creating quality goal-scoring chances through intricate interplay in order to break down the defensive lines.

On the other, Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ soccer; fast attacking football with less of a focus on possession and a bigger focus on explosive attacking presence.

Two styles of soccer that makes this Sunday’s fixture an intriguing clash, especially from a betting perspetive - bettors who look at both sides style of play in detail will perhaps side with the Citizens.

Whilst Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal soccer has seen Liverpool often score early on in a half (26 of their 50 goals in the Premier League this season have come in either the first 15 minutes of the first or second half), their style of play often leads to fatigue, particularly after the gruelling winter fixtures.

Of the 25 goals Liverpool have conceded in the Premier League, 16 of those have come in the last 15 minutes of either half. Their fast-paced start is difficult to continue as the half goes on.

No team has lost more aerial duels per game (13.9) than Manchester City, despite City also challenging for the least.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s possession-based style of play relies less on the fitness of his players to make quick counter-attacks. Instead, their passing style depletes the defensive stability of the opposition as the game goes on, meaning that chances are usually more frequent at the latter end of the game.

Manchester City have scored 20 goals in the last 15 minutes of Premier League games, only Manchester United (21) have scored more.

If Manchester City can withstand the early barrage from Liverpool and play the game at their pace, the likelihood of a Citizens win on Sunday increases. Certainly something to consider in the Liverpool vs. Manchester City odds.

The importance of Virgil Van Dijk

Even without considering his debut goal, Virgil Van Dijk looked calm and composed in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Everton.

The script went just as rehearsed for the ex-Southampton defender – a debut goal in the last five minutes in front of the Kop in a Merseyside derby.

This Sunday, he faces one of his other suitors before he made his big-money move to Liverpool this transfer window in Manchester City.

If anything, Van Dijk plugs what was a clear weak point next to Joel Matip in the heart of Liverpool’s defence. He also brings an aerial presence that Liverpool have been yearning for in the past transfer windows:

Liverpool centre-backAerial duels lost pgAerial duels won pg
Virgil Van Dijk 1.8 5
Dejan Lovren 2.1 4
Joel Matip 0.8 2.6
Ragnar Klavan 1.9 2.4

Virgil Van Dijk’s aerial presence may come into play this Sunday. No team has lost more aerial duels per game (13.9) than Manchester City, despite City also challenging for the least. If Liverpool can win set-pieces from good positions, then Liverpool’s new 1.93m centre-half could notch his second.

Defensively, Van Dijk’s reading of the game may prove critical if Liverpool want to stop Manchester City’s interplay around the box. Virgil Van Dijk led the Liverpool side in interceptions on his debut with four.

On average, he has made 2.4 per game in the Premier League this season for both Southampton and Liverpool. In comparison, Liverpool’s second-highest interceptions maker this season has been Trent Alexander-Arnold with just 1.8 per game.

If Liverpool are to give Manchester City their first loss of the season, then Virgil Van Dijk’s solidity in both the air and to prevent Manchester City’s football from breaking their lines may prove crucial.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City betting: Where is the value?

This Sunday’s clash will see the top-two scoring sides face off, so despite Manchester City’s solidity in defence this season the likelihood for goals is high. Over 3.25 odds of 2.040* looks to be a smart bet, particularly looking at the attacking forces that both sides should offer.

Due to Manchester City’s superiority this season, Liverpool’s handicap odds look tantalising to those who think that Jurgen Klopp’s men offer Pep’s men his sternest test of this season so far.

Liverpool’s +0.25 odds of 1.980* could offer bettors value, meanwhile Manchester City’s -0.5 handicap odds of 2.250* could be an interesting bet for those who think Guardiola’s men are simply unbeatable in the Premier League this season.

Odds subject to change

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