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Man City v Liverpool:Cityzen set to dent Reds title ambition

EPL By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 03/01/2019

Manchester City welcome Liverpool to Etihad Stadium on Thursday night as Pep Guardiola set to dent Reds first Premier League title in 29 years.

Cityzen festive failings have seen Jurgen Klopp men take a seven-point lead in the title race heading into 2019, and the Merseyside outfit remain unbeaten in the top flight as Liverpool crushed Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield in their final game of 2018 to end the year on a high note.

Team News

Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt for this match after picking up a muscle problem which ruled him out of the win over Southampton on Sunday and Ilkay Gundogan should be fit to return from an injury issue of his own.

Fabian Delph remains suspended, but the likes of Kyle Walker, John Stones and Leroy Sane are pushing for recalls after missing out against Southampton.

Sergio Aguero is expected to lead the line once more as he looks to maintain his record of scoring in all six home league games against Liverpool, and should he manage that then he would chalk up his 250th career league goal.

Liverpool are still without Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, but James Milner could be fit to return from a slight hamstring injury to face his former side but Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita are among the players hoping for a recall to the starting XI, although the form of Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho leaves Klopp spoilt for choice in midfield.

Roberto Firmino is fresh from scoring a hat-trick against Arsenal, while Mohamed Salah is also in fine form having both scored and assisted in each of his last three league games and the Egyptian has a good record against City too, having scored three and assisted two more in his last four meetings.

Head-to-Head

Despite all their recent successes, Manchester City just cannot seem to beat Liverpool, winning just four of the 16 meetings between the two sides since City won the Premier League in 2012.

Pep Guardiola’s side are currently on a four-game winless streak against Klopp’s Liverpool, with the goalless draw at Anfield ending a run of three consecutive defeats in all competitions – including two in the Champions League en route to Liverpool’s runners-up finish.

Manchester City wins: 54 Draws: 53 Liverpool wins: 104

Recent Form

Cityzen has won four and lost two in their last six matches in all competition, while Reds has won all their encounters in the same number of games.

Manager Quotes 

Manchester City Guardiola insists his focus has not changed via Sky Sport: "I have the feeling it is a big opportunity for us to reduce the gap but our focus is the same," 

"Everybody asks what we are going to do if we lose but we are going to try to make our game and to win it.

"At the moment Liverpool are the best team in Europe for the way they play and control the details in their game. It's a good challenge for us."

Meanwhile, ahead of his side's trip to the Etihad, Liverpool boss Klopp insisted City remain the best team in the world he said.  "A very difficult one, one of the most difficult games you can play in the modern football world. We felt that plenty of times. It's a really strong football team with an outstanding manager.

"We have to be prepared as good as possible, we have to be brave, we have to be full of desire, angry, like in all the other games. But with the knowledge the opponent is, for me, still the best team in the world. Only the points changed, not the preparation for the game."

Predicted Cityzen XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Delph; Silva, Fernandinho, Silva; Sane, Aguero, Sterling

Predicted Reds XI:  Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah.

Prediction: Man City 2-1 Liverpool

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