Liverpool vs Mancity preview. Photo: Youtube
Liverpool vs Mancity preview. Photo: Youtube

Meetings between Liverpool and Manchester City are rarely anything but momentous and yet this game feels particularly significant even for their recent clashes. Victory for the reigning champions would revive a title defense in danger of flatlining while City are chasing a 14th straight win in all competitions as they bid to affirm their status as the best team in England if not all of Europe.

Defeat for Jurgen Klopp's men would open up a 10 point gap between them and the top of the table but will they suffer a potentially decisive blow against City? We examine the game - and make some bold predictions - below.

THE FACTS

When does Liverpool vs Man City kick-off? Sunday 7th February 2021 – 16:30 (UK)

Where is Liverpool vs Man City being played? Anfield, Liverpool

Where can I get tickets for Liverpool vs Man City? Some clubs can now have some fans back in their stadiums so it is worth checking official club websites for the latest updates on the ticket situation

What TV channel is Liverpool vs Man City on in the UK? Sky Sports

Where can I stream Liverpool vs Man City in the UK? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match live via Sky Go

Liverpool vs Manchester City Team News

Liverpool

Liverpool will be without the defensive trio of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip for this game. Makeshift center-back Fabinho is back in training, and he is likely to be assessed ahead of the game along with Sadio Mane. Diogo Jota is finally back in training and may return to the pitch in the coming weeks, Sports Keeda reported.

Jordan Henderson has filled in at the back. He could continue in that position alongside one of the new signings, most likely Ozan Kabak, if Fabinho isn’t back. Alisson Becker is set to return after missing the game against Brighton due to an illness.

Injured: Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Naby Keita, Diogo Jota

Doubtful: Sadio Mane, Fabinho

Suspended: None

Photo: Sports Mole
Photo: Sports Mole

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola will be without the duo of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne for the clash against Liverpool. Aguero is still not up to speed, while De Bruyne has a muscle issue.

Injured: Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Liverpool vs Manchester City Head-to-head

Games between the two sides have been cagey more often than not as they have a great deal of respect for each other’s quality. The last time they faced off at the Etihad, it ended all square.

Manchester City have the edge if you look at the head-to-head meetings between the two sides, having won three out of the last six meetings.

Guardiola’s side are also in better form than Liverpool at the moment, having gone unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions.

Liverpool form guide: D-L-W-W-D

Manchester City form guide: W-W-W-W-W

Liverpool vs Manchester City Predicted Lineups

Photo: The Guardian
Photo: The Guardian

Liverpool predicted XI (4-4-2): Alisson, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Ozan Kabak, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Georginio Wijnaldum, Curtis Jones, Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah

Manchester City predicted XI (4-3-3): Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling

Liverpool vs Manchester City Prediction

Anfield is the stage for what will likely prove a pivotal fixture in this season’s Premier League as league leaders Man City travel to defending champions, Liverpool. A second successive home defeat for the Reds in midweek, this time at the hands of Brighton sees Jurgen Klopp’s men enter this match in fourth place and realistically needing to win if they are to stand any chance of catching Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side comes into this encounter loaded with momentum, having won their last 13 games, says The Stats Zone.

However, the location of the contest may prove a game-changer with Man City holding a hideous record over the years at Anfield, not winning at the home of Liverpool since way back in May 2003. Since that victory, City has played 17 Premier League games at the ground without success but the lack of fans this time round could perhaps ignite a change of fortune for the visitors. Guardiola’s men look the best defensively that they perhaps have ever done under the Spaniard and when you take into account their current winning run alongside Liverpool’s lengthy injury list, Man City draw no bet may well prove the smart play.

Liverpool's title challenge reaches its conclusion

Perhaps this prediction, writing off the candidacy of the reigning champions with a little over half of the season played, isn't as bold as it sounds, according to CBS Sports. After all, what evidence has there been over recent weeks that a team that is struggling for rhythm and cohesion in an attack like Liverpool are can break down the best defense in the Premier League? Equally, why should the Reds' cobbled together backline be able to hold at bay a Manchester City attack that has clicked into gear in recent weeks?

Of course, it will not be that simple. It is safe to assume that Liverpool will raise their game for the visit of their great recent rivals. In the Premier League, Pep Guardiola has lost to Klopp more times than any other manager. These two share a 3-3-3 record against each other, signifying that their sides have been evenly matched since the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss arrived in 2016.

And yet there has been a footballing chasm between these two sides over recent weeks, one that is not down to Liverpool's underlying performances being bad per se so much as City having opened a vast expanse between not only the defending champions but every other team in the Premier League as well.

Since January 1 Guardiola's side has the league's highest expected goals per match at 2.09, the highest actual goals at 2.57, more possession than any other side and by far the longest average time in possession. Curiously one of the few major attacking statistics in which they have not set the pace is in big chances created where they are second to a Tottenham side that has fallen off a cliff in goal output without Harry Kane.

Their defensive numbers are similarly impressive. The average opponent for City since the turn of the year gets away just 5 shots per match with a combined expected goals value of 0.37. Such is the excellence of the backline - Ruben Dias has blocked 16 percent of shots on the City goal since the turn of the year with Ederson registering only one more save than his center back has blocked - that they've somehow crept under that low xG bar with just one Premier League goal conceded since the start of 2021.

In short, City are the most effective attacking and defensive team in the Premier League. For all that Liverpool's underlying numbers suggest they are creating good chances, defending well and just getting unlucky they are not performing on the same level as their visitors at Anfield on Sunday. It would be no surprise if they were to be defeated. It would be a surprise if Guardiola's side were then to allow a 10 point lead over their perennial rivals to be overturned before the end of the season.

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