Man City v Liverpool – Etihad Stadium at 20:00 GMT

The New Year will proceed with a bang when League leaders Liverpool travel to the Etihad Stadium on Thursday night to take on reigning champions Manchester City in what is probably the most anticipated and biggest fixture in the Premier League so far this season. This match will be a huge factor in deciding who will be the recipient of the 2018-19 Premier League title so these two teams will take every opportunity they can get to come out victorious. A win for either of the two could see a massive shift in the balance of power.

Manchester City’s recent form hasn’t been the best lately and it has been far from what is expected from Pep Guardiola’s champions last season. City suffered three defeats in their previous five league fixtures at the hands of the unexpected Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and Chelsea. They also failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous 10 games across all competitions, the worst since Guardiola joined the club. However, Man City will be coming into this game following a 3-1 victory against Southampton over the weekend.

On the other hand, Liverpool are coming into this match flying high on confidence. Jurgen Klopp’s men remain unbeaten in the top flight, dominating Arsenal in a 5-1 thrashing at Anfield in their last fixture of 2018 after a 4-0 beating of Newcastle. They are currently on an eight-match winning streak in the league. A win against Manchester City would make them the heavy favourites for their first Premier League title in almost 30 years.

The Etihad Stadium will need to get ready for the most entertaining battle so far this season between the two best attacking teams in the English top flight.  

LATEST NEWS

–          Joel Matip and Joe Gomez will most likely be sidelined until the end of the month.

–          James Milner is expected to return for the match after missing a series of matches recently due to a muscle injury.

–          Fabian Delph remains suspended following his red card while Benjamin Mendy is a long-term absentee.

–          Ilkay Gundogan could return to Manchester City after missing the victory at Southampton.

–          Kevin de Bruyne remains a doubt due to a muscle problem.

PROBABLE FORMATION & STARTING XI

Man City: 4-3-3

Ederson; Walker, Vincent Kompany, Laporte, Danilo; Silva, Fernandinho, Silva; Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling

Liverpool: 4-3-3

Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Virgil Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Naby Keita; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane

KEY PLAYERS

Man City

Sergio Aguero is among Premier League’s top goal-scorers. Despite a slow start to his career this season, he still managed to climb his way to the top of the rankings as one of the league’s top scorers. He is also included in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot.

Raheem Sterling proved to be one of the best players in the Premier League ever since he joined Manchester City and has established himself as one of City’s most important players. In each of his three seasons with City, he has proven to be more prolific in terms of goal scoring.

Liverpool

Mo Salah is in a much better form than he was in last season. His incredible hat-trick against Bournemouth just last month plunged him to the top of the Premier League goal-scoring table. With Liverpool’s current run, he shows no signs of slowing down as they aim to bag the Premier League title from Thursday’s rivals.

Sadio Mane has been consistent in performing brilliantly ever since his transfer from Southampton. He was Liverpool’s joint top scorer in the Champions League last season with 10 goals to his record. His consistency in goal-scoring will be one of Liverpool’s keys in bagging the Premier League title victory.

MATCH PREDICTION

Man City v Liverpool: 3-2

It’s highly expected that this fixture is going to be a close encounter due to the attacking ways and technical abilities that both of these teams possess. Manchester City didn’t get the status of Premier League champions by breaking down under pressure, and they could surprise everyone again if they could thrive in this must-win event. Playing at their home turf also gives them a slim advantage. Despite their challenges recently, Pep Guardiola and his team know the importance of this game. If they lose, the title is as good as gone and far within their reach. However, considering Liverpool’s current form, Thursday night could be a tough contest between these two.

MATCH BETTING ODDS*Prices are correct at the time of writing.

By @EliaasMJ

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