It’s here! The biggest match in the history of time! A sporting contest of such importance, a party political leader will tweet a photo of themselves watching it! And it’s live!
Oh, pipe down. The hype ahead of this game might make Jim White spontaneously combust, but what doesn’t? Whoever wins, there’s still another 78 points up for grabs.
But if Liverpool were to come out on top, Manchester City would need to win 25 of their remaining 26 games to hit the 100-point mark they’ve made the norm for title challenges.
Jurgen Klopp’s team are 8/11 favourites to win the league, and it’ll shorten if they defeat the current title holders.
The history books suggest they should. Trent Alexander-Arnold was four years old the last time City won at Anfield. Liverpool are on a 12-match winning run at home for the first time since 1985, before football actually started, and haven’t lost any of their last 45 league games on their patch.
Across the previous 38 Premier League match weeks, the Reds have won seven points more than City, despite losing to them in that period. So why are both teams priced at 6/4 to win? Beats the hell out of me, Clive.
No doubt a tactical foul or last-minute dive will decide the match, but I’m going for a draw. Both teams wouldn’t be upset to maintain the status quo in the league table, and Premier League history shows a match between the league leaders and reigning champions ends in a draw more often than not, as there’s so much at stake.
Pep played conservatively in this fixture last season when it was earlier in the season and the sides were level on points. He won’t want Liverpool disappearing over the hill, so will keep it tight once again.
Best Bet: Draw – 5/2
Will there be goals?
The last Merseyside meeting of these teams ended goal-less – thanks mainly to Riyad Mahrez – but that was an exception rather than the rule when two of the country’s top sides clash in Liverpool.
The last 10 ‘big six’ league matches at Anfield have featured at least three goals seven times, and both teams have found the net on eight occasions.
The opposite is true for City on the road though. Not one of their trips to face the other five biggest clubs in the land last season saw both teams score or more than two goals in total. Pep’s pups won to nil at Arsenal, Tottenham and United, lost 2-0 at Chelsea, and had the aforementioned bore draw at Anfield.
But, the Reds seem incapable of clean sheets at the moment, having only kept three shutouts in their 19 matches this season. As they’ve only failed to score once too, and City currently have a shortage of decent defenders, we can expect goals.
Roberto Firmino has had a lot of joy against the Citizens over the years, scoring four goals and assisting three more in his eight Premier League appearances against them. The Brazilian is also Liverpool’s top scorer in ‘big six’ matches since the start of last season, notching a total of seven goals.
He has been excelling at creating rather than scoring this season though. Firmino’s total of seven assists is the most anyone has mustered for Liverpool in 2019/20.
However, his three goals puts him level with a raft of players, including that elusive mercenary, Own Goals.
No Premier League player has had more shots without scoring in the last four match weeks than Bobby though, so his next goal won’t be far away.
Best Bet: Roberto Firmino to score anytime – 2/1
Standard protocol when City are playing is to have a punt on Sergio Agüero to score, as he usually does. He’s not the 3/1 favourite for the Golden Boot for nothing, you know.
Except when he plays at Anfield, that is. A stadium full of enthusiastic, noisy fans must be kryptonite to Agüero, as he’s only had 10 shots with two on target in seven league appearances there.
It’s not just a problem in Liverpool either; he hasn’t scored a league goal in an away ‘big six’ fixture for two-and-a-half years.
Plus, Raheem Sterling is in slightly better form, with nine goals in his last 10 games for club and country. He finally broke his duck against his former club at Wembley in August and looks set to inflict more misery here.
Best Bet: Raheem Sterling to score anytime – 17/10
* All odds correct at time of posting.