2018-19 Premier League: Week 21 – Thursday

A dramatic goal filled fortnight of festive Premier League action climaxes at the Etihad as Manchester City host leaders, Liverpool in a top of table showdown. 

Victory for City will reignite the title battle but defeat would see Liverpool move nine points ahead of second-placed Tottenham Hotspur, as they look for their first league crown since 1990.

 

Team news

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Ilkay Gundogan is set to return from injury for Manchester City whilst Kevin de Bruyne is a doubt as he struggles with a muscular issue. 

Fabian Delph meanwhile suspended for this clash as Benjamin Mendy (knee), Eliaquim Mangala (knee) and Claudio Bravo (Achilles) are long-term absentees. 

Liverpool could have James Milner back from a thigh injury whilst defenders, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are set to return later this month from leg and shoulder injuries respectively.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain although expected to be sidelined for majority of season is making decent progress and might return for final few weeks of season.  

 

Form

After going unbeaten in their opening 15 league games, Manchester City have taken just six points from their last five. 

The Citizens have however scored in every game bar their 2-0 away defeat at Chelsea with five of their last six goals coming in first half, despite losing their last home game 3-2 to Crystal Palace. 

Liverpool meanwhile arrive in Manchester off the back of a nine match winning run and have kept clean sheets in three of their last four away games. 

Mohamed Salah is also in fine form for the Reds, scoring in four of their last five league games overall and in three of last four away trips. 

 

Stat Attack

  • Manchester City have avoided defeat in two of last five meetings against Liverpool in all competitions (W1, D1, L3).
  • At home, Man City have lost just once in their last five against Liverpool (W3, D1, L1).
  • 2012-13 season was last time that both league meetings ended with same result, drawing 2-2 at Etihad in August 12 then at Anfield in February 13.
  • Manchester City have already scored 54 goals this season, seven less than their 61 goals from this stage last season. 
  • Liverpool have kept a league high 12 clean sheets so far this season. 
  • Mohamed Salah and Leroy Sane have both made 14 assists between them with seven each, which is five more than Eden Hazard who has made the most individual assists of 9. 
  • Gabriel Jesus and Mohamed Salah have both missed 11 big chances, the league’s joint third highest number of wasted chances after 20 games this season. 

 

Prediction

Manchester City really need their defence to be alert here against a free flowing Liverpool side, who has scored at least three goals in five of their last six. 

If not then there is only going to be one outcome but I am expecting a much tighter match now Sergio Aguero is back for City. 

Ultimately, Liverpool look unstoppable though and should squeeze past the Citizens with a late winner here. 

Prediction: Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool

Jake predicts: Manchester City 2-0 Liverpool

Result: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool

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