Liverpool v Man City – Anfield at 17:30 live on BT Sport 1
My last Asian Handicap preview of 2016 focuses on the New Years Eve live fixture between Liverpool and Man City. With Chelsea pulling 6 points clear of the Reds and 7 ahead of the Citizen’s, neither team can afford to lose this vital match at Anfield.
It’s been an incredible year for the Merseysiders. Only Chelsea and Spurs have accumulated more points than the Reds this Calendar year, showing that their improvement under Jurgen Klopp is firmly embedded.
They currently sit second in the table and although they have slipped 6 points behind the Blues, they are certainly Premier League title contenders.
Liverpool’s biggest strength is their attack. They have outscored everyone in 2016, and by a decent margin. With 86 goals in 37 games, an average of 2.32 per game, they have scored 12 more than second best Chelsea.
Defensively however, they lack stability, conceding 49 times this year. Their defense has let them down on a few occasions this season and is the reason they have fallen 6 points behind Chelsea.
More recently though, they seemed to have improved. Having conceded at least once in 7 of their opening 8 games of the season, they now have 4 clean sheets in their last 8 outings.
Having suffered back to back defeats early on in December, City will be looking to end the month with 4 straight victories at Anfield. They have defeated Watford, Arsenal and Hull in their last 3 and their 2-1 home win against Arsenal, having gone a goal down, could prove to be the turning point after a below par couple of months.
They sit in third spot, just 1 point behind Liverpool and bring a very good away record into this fixture.
Man City have won 7 of their 9 road matches this season and hold the 2nd best away record in the league behind leaders Chelsea. The Citizen’s also hold the record of most away goals this term (22), two more than Liverpool and Arsenal.
Like Liverpool though, Man City are frail at the back, conceding 20 times in their opening 18 fixtures this season. With just 4 clean sheets this campaign they are far from solid and if they play anything like they did in their 4-2 defeat against Leicester, they could be in trouble early on here.
One big plus for Pep Guardiola is the return of Sergio Aguero after his 4 match ban for a reckless challenge on David Luis in their 3-1 loss to Chelsea. He has scored 16 goals in his 19 starts for City this season but has never netted at Anfield.
Asian Handicap & Total Goals
The hosts are 2.41 to take all 3 points here and keep the gap to 6 points behind Chelsea, assuming the Blues beat Stoke earlier in the day.
Liverpool have won 7 of their 9 homes games this season, drawing 2 and are now unbeaten in 23 matches at Anfield. The Reds have also defeated City int their last 3 meetings and their last 3 played on home soil.
The visitors haven’t won against Liverpool on Merseyside since 2003 and Pep will have his work cut out if they are to buck that trend this Saturday.
This should be a cracking match and one that also promises goals. Two great attacking sides against shaky defences that when facing each other have a history of producing high scoring affairs. 6 of their last 10 meetings have seen 4 goals or more.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Liverpool -0.25 at 2.08 & Over 3 goals at 2.12
Prices correct at time of writing.
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