Liverpool vs Man City: Anfield clash between Premier League title rivals

England’s high two golf equipment in recent times go face to face, dwell on Sky Sports this Sunday – however the place may the sport be gained or misplaced?

Liverpool host Manchester City dwell on Sky Sports this weekend in a clash between the title favourites, with City presently holding a seven-point benefit over Jurgen Klopp’s facet with a sport in hand after a 13-game win streak in all competitions.

Liverpool have fortified defensive damage woes within the winter switch market and proven glimpses of rekindling their title-winning type in latest weeks: three factors at Anfield would cut the hole to simply 4 factors.

So, what components may decide the important thing battlegrounds?

Manchester City

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Position: 4th
Games performed: 22
PPG: 1.82 (#4)

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Liverpool’s type chart started to resemble the inverted model of Manchester City just a few weeks in the past. Jurgen Klopp’s facet stuttered after their shock 7-2 defeat towards Aston Villa in October, an occasion later dubbed ‘Silly Sunday’.

Indeed, the unpredictable nature of this season’s marketing campaign can present one of many few solutions to why Liverpool’s famed entrance three had misplaced their edge so abruptly earlier than the 3-1 win over Spurs. The champions had gone 5 league video games and not using a win. Things gave the impression to be again on observe till the 1-0 defeat to Brighton on Wednesday.

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Player to look at: Mohamed Salah

The Egypt worldwide has scored a league-topping 15 targets and has continued to search out the again of the online, albeit with diminished returns, in the course of the staff’s latest collapse in type.

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Counterpart winger Sadio Mane has additionally stood out however accidents have taken their toll on outcomes and the next-best common performers in the course of the marketing campaign up to now would in all probability be ‘keeper Alisson, Jordan Henderson and left-back Andy Robertson.


Analysing Liverpool’s strengths is a stark reminder to not rule them out. Their type had fallen off a cliff, however they didn’t win Europe’s elite competitors and the home crown within the house of a yr with out resilience.

Ending their seven-hour run and not using a league objective final week – with under-fire Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino among the many scorers – gave the impression to be a pivotal second, however City’s type suggests Liverpool can not afford extra blips.

Expected targets knowledge suggests Klopp’s facet have underperformed and outcomes may properly ‘regress to the imply’. Indeed, the indicators are definitely constructive.

Liverpool have topped the desk for a league-high 34 days this time period and rank high for anticipated targets, targets from set-pieces, possession gained within the attacking and center thirds and crosses.

In truth, solely City can rival their sheer dominance throughout key metrics.


The damage disaster has imposed weaknesses upon different areas. The absence of accessible centre-backs has pushed midfielder Fabinho and Jordan Henderson into the again 4, which has weakened the press in central areas to reveal the counter-attack.

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Wayward crosses from full-backs and misfiring forwards have additionally compounded the issues in latest video games, however was the poor run a blip? The query is whether or not their title defence will overcome the psychological wobble and dip in type or be outlined by accidents. A transparent indication will come towards the league leaders on Sunday.

Man City

Position: 1st
Games performed: 21
PPG: 2.24 (#1)

Pep Guardiola’s facet have been languishing in sixth spot with simply 5 wins from 12 video games in mid-December however have gone on a 13-game win streak in all competitions since beating Southampton final month. The 5-0 win at West Brom epitomised their present trajectory: sustaining defensive solidity and rekindling their customary firepower.

Player to look at: Ilkay Gundogan

Something occurred to Ilkay Gundogan in mid-December. The Germany worldwide had made six league appearances earlier than that – albeit together with two late run-outs from the bench – and had failed to attain or help.

But, since then, the 30-year-old has scored seven targets and assisted one other – in simply 10 video games. In truth, no different participant within the league has a greater objective tally throughout this era.

One purpose why City have emerged as title favourites is the sheer variety of gamers in talismanic type, together with Joao Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, John Stones and Ruben Dias.


The strengths span virtually each metric, from the defence to the assault. Arguably, City have the strongest and deepest squad within the division, weaved with youth and expertise.

While City have lengthy been the free-scoring juggernauts, their defence has outshone the assault this time period. Incredibly, Guardiola’s facet have shipped solely 13 targets this time period, 9 fewer than another membership – and 4 of these have been penalties.


For most golf equipment, having De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero sidelined can be sufficient to derail a title problem. But City proceed to enhance with out them. All indicators recommend Guardiola’s facet have discovered their groove on the proper time.

However, profitable the Champions League stays their elusive objective and will take priority over home duties, whereas progress within the FA Cup and a Carabao Cup last in April means the quadruple is on – but additionally poses potential for critical fixture congestion.

TAA returns to type?

Trent Alexander-Arnold is extensively thought to be top-of-the-line right-backs on this planet. At simply 22 years previous, he has set an unprecedented commonplace and, together with fellow full-back Robertson, the pair have embodied Liverpool’s relentless ahead thrust down the flanks.

But the England worldwide failed to hold final season’s type into this marketing campaign and had a sluggish begin by his personal requirements. Criticism got here after the Burnley defeat, wherein he tried 22 crosses and solely discovered a team-mate on one event.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring towards Tottenham

However, his deliveries rely on optimum motion within the field. As the graphic beneath exhibits, unsurprisingly, his high efficiency this season got here towards Spurs – when his objective and help secured a 3-1 victory.

Gundogan’s key function?

As beforehand talked about, no participant within the Premier League has scored extra targets than Gundogan since mid-December and his talismanic qualities have reached a brand new stage at an apt time – when De Bruyne has been sidelined for a month with a hamstring damage.

Kevin De Bruyne got here off injured within the win over Aston Villa

But it isn’t simply his scoring exploits which have solidified City’s title tilt. The Germany midfielder has more and more linked defence with assault, usually working within the left-of-centre space simply contained in the attacking half and regularly switching play to the precise flank to stretch opposition defences.

Attacking the flanks

A notable similarity between the 2 groups is how they utilise the complete width of the pitch with fast passes and cross-field balls to create areas by spreading opposition defences.

According to knowledge analysing the effectiveness of assaults down the flanks, Liverpool obtain virtually good symmetry for imposing hazard down each channels.

City virtually mirror Liverpool’s proportion of assaults down the large thirds however obtain barely extra success down the precise, regardless of having a better quantity down the left – an space usually marshalled by Riyad Mahrez.

A distinction between the challengers is how Liverpool favour firing crosses into the field, whereas City will extra usually assault down the flanks however try slide-rule passes to runners or redistribute in and across the field with quick-fire, probing passes.

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How do they rating?


The graphic beneath reveals how the vast majority of Liverpool’s assists come from crosses and lengthy passes – whereas no membership has surpassed their 12 targets from set-pieces this time period.

Man City

In distinction, the graphic beneath highlights City’s favoured finesse from large areas, whereas the longer passes usually come from extra central areas and are often delivered by De Bruyne.

The gamers

Salah has scored greater than twice as many league targets than another participant on the two golf equipment, with Sterling, Mane and Gundogan all stage as the following high scorers on seven.

Meanwhile, the graphic beneath exhibits the true depth and high quality of City’s squad to take care of their present efficiency ranges with out De Bruyne, who tops the charts for possibilities created and assists among the many groups.

How do they concede?


Liverpool have conceded 25 targets this season, which is a certain signal the long-term accidents to first-choice centre-back pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have affected their customary watertight methods.

Five golf equipment have shipped fewer than Klopp’s facet and City have leaked virtually half as many targets with a league-low 13 up to now. The places of these conceded targets are pretty evenly distributed, suggesting there isn’t any obtrusive weak spot.

However, the vast majority of targets are conceded in and across the penalty spot, whereas a better proportion of pictures fired from their proper facet are conceded, in contrast with the left.

Man City

The map for City’s conceded targets is staggering. Four spot-kicks overlay the penalty spot and simply seven targets from open play have been shipped from pictures fired inside their field.

Who runs extra?

In possession, the mantra of constructing the ball do the laborious work definitely applies to those golf equipment. Both groups pushed the boundaries for distance lined throughout their early evolutions however have eased off in latest campaigns. This season, Liverpool marginally outrun City per sport – however solely 4 groups common with a larger distance than the Reds.

A rising tendency is to say bodily exertions on bursts of velocity, for breakaway assaults and runners to lose markers into the opposition field. Liverpool additionally edge City on this metric and solely three different groups common extra sprints per sport than Klopp’s facet.

In phrases of the gamers, Liverpool duo Firmino and Robertson prepared the ground for distance lined, adopted by City’s Rodri – who narrowly edges fellow holding midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

The work-rates of Robertson and Firmino are underlined additional with each gamers topping the chart for sprints, with Raheem Sterling dividing the pair, whereas wingers Salah and Mane are subsequent up on the record.

Kyle Walker is by far the quickest participant among the many groups with a high velocity of 36.6km/h this time period, regularly utilised for his lung-busting restoration runs. Meanwhile, Firmino’s work for the staff is underlined with a chart-topping 909 runs off the ball.

Off-ball run

A sustained off-ball motion by a participant whose staff is in possession, made with depth, with a purpose to obtain a move or create house.

Will City edge possession?

Both golf equipment dominate the league for possession. City edge Liverpool of their common share up to now with 65.4 per cent, in contrast with 64.2 per cent. Both groups prefer to pen opposition into their very own half by enjoying a excessive line, which – as has proved previously – may end up in a free-flowing, end-to-end contest.

Combined, Liverpool and City have racked up 13 video games with possession in extra of 70 per cent this time period – whereas each have set club-season-records towards West Brom at 78 per cent and 77 per cent, respectively.

City edged Liverpool for possession 55/45 when the 2 sides ran out a 1-1 attract November.

Where either side preserve possession is strikingly related. The graphic beneath exhibits typical concentrations of exercise down each flanks simply contained in the opposition half, though City additionally function extra in attacking central areas and Liverpool maintain extra possession in central defensive areas.

Liverpool’s focus down the channels is underlined once more by Robertson finishing a chart-topping 1,654 passes amongst gamers from each groups this season, whereas City’s centralised and affected person type is mirrored with Rodri and Dias main the best way.

In phrases of firing passes into the opposition field, it can come as no shock Liverpool’s full-back are streets forward, whereas Klopp can be relieved City are lacking their key playmaker De Bruyne. But, past the Belgian, certainly one of City’s strengths is the sheer range of gamers contributing to assaults.

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Who wins the press?

Once once more, the groups high the division for defending from the entrance. Liverpool have reclaimed possession 186 occasions within the attacking third, with City solely 9 shy from that determine.

But, Liverpool are superior at recovering free balls throughout the pitch – suggesting City may wrestle if Liverpool handle to push City into their defensive half. The fact is, City are hardly ever in their very own half.


A coordinated motion by two or extra defending gamers making use of strain on the identical time, to a number of pressed gamers.

In truth, solely Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has gained extra excessive turnovers than Rodri within the Premier League this season, whereas Firmino, De Bruyne and Wijnaldum drive the press – as does Alexander-Arnold to disclose his, maybe unsung, contribution to defensive duties.


A defensive motion wherein a participant whose staff is out of possession strikes to shut down an opposing participant. Pressures could also be utilized to gamers in possession, or potential receivers.

Which excessive line dominates? Could one creak?

As has been the case throughout quite a few metrics, each groups prepared the ground for having the best defensive position, measured beneath by the common beginning distance of passing sequences from their very own targets.

City truly push one metre increased than Liverpool, whereas solely Manchester United, Brighton, Chelsea and Southampton come anyplace near the 2 groups’ superior method.

One of the explanations Liverpool and City apply a lot strain in attacking areas is due to their excessive line. In possession, a excessive defensive position compresses the pitch and permits quicker passages of play – if a staff can play by way of the opposition press.

Out of possession, the opposition has much less house to play out and can usually lose the ball below the press or counter-press. Even when the opposition threads a move by way of, or over, the excessive line, a well-drilled line usually catches the runner offside – or pacy defenders are tasked with profitable a last-man race.

A staff that may move below strain, win excessive turnovers and regularly burst from the blocks is well-suited to enjoying a excessive line. So, it could come as no shock Liverpool and Manchester City excel right here.

However, when shedding the press or dealing with an extended ball, Klopp’s facet are the masters at deploying the road with defensive effectivity, having topped the division for catching opponents offside final season and main the best way once more this time period, by some margin.

The excessive line shouldn’t be restrained to outfield gamers: Only Burnley stopper Nick Pope has tried extra ‘keeper sweepings’ than Alisson and Ederson this season, charging out as defenders rush again to assist snuff out any hazard that breaks by way of.

So the Premier League challengers go face to face this Sunday with a myriad of battlegrounds to win or lose, to find out the newest chapter of this season’s wild title race.

Pitch to Post Preview – Liverpool vs Man City particular: Jamie Carragher’s verdict, staff information & line-ups, and the standout stats

In this week’s Pitch to Post Preview Podcast Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher joins Peter Smith for an in-depth have a look at Sunday’s massive clash between Liverpool and Man City. Carragher provides his verdict on whether or not Liverpool can get better within the title race after their defeat to Brighton – and what they must do to beat Man City of their must-win match at Anfield.

We additionally hear the newest from each golf equipment, with Sky Sports News reporters Vinny O’Connor and Ben Ransom sharing the staff information and discussing the choice points forward of the sport.

And Sky Sports stats star Matt Cheetham has the numbers behind the 5 key areas of the sport, so hear in and impress your mates along with his stats and info! He additionally makes his Pitch for what is going to occur within the match – and divulges whether or not the information backs up the predictions made by a few of Sky Sports’ Twitter followers!

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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There is, as with Super 6, a tiebreaker to separate the winners if there’s multiple on any event. This can be a possession slider, so that you merely slide it to what you suppose the possession stat can be on the finish of the sport, and that may very well be the distinction between coming away empty handed or with a candy £5,000. Choose correctly!

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