EPL Pick of the Day Round 21 – Manchester City vs. Liverpool (1/3/19)

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The Citizens have an opportunity to hand the Reds a first league defeat of the season and cut the gap between the clubs to four points, while the visitors have a chance to practically knock City out of the title race with three points here. The game between Manchester City and Liverpool will take place at the Etihad Stadium on January 3rd, 2018.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool 

Three-Way: 1: Man City -200; X: +375 Draw; 2: Liverpool +600 at BetDSI Sportsbook

Spread -1.5: Man City +110; Liverpool -143

Total 3 goals: Over -120; Under +100

MANCHESTER CITY

Five rounds ago, Manchester City led Liverpool by two points and boasted a far superior goal difference, but going into this potential classic the tables have turned – the Reds currently lead the Premier League by six points, and currently better City’s goal difference by two.

Three defeats within the last five rounds is unusual for Pep Guardiola’s men, but at home, sparks fly for City, who’ve won 12 of 14 here this season (in all competitions – L2). Matches have averaged 4.14 goals, and the Citizens have netted two or more in all but one of those home games.

Man City avoided the third consecutive defeat with a 3-1 road win over Southampton and briefly returned to the second place before Tottenham Hotspur beat Cardiff and regained the place behind Liverpool. The Citizens scored all three goals in the opening 45 minutes as David Silva, James Ward-Prowse (own goal), and Sergio Aguero gave the visitors a two-goal lead which they successfully maintained in the second half. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalized in the 37th minute but received the straight red card with five minutes to go as the Citizens deservedly recorded a win.

Pep Guardiola cannot count on Claudio Bravo (Achilles tendon), Fabian Delph (suspension), Eliaquim Mangala (knee), and Benjamin Mendy (knee), while Kevin De Bruyne is listed as questionable for this tilt.

Betting Trends:

  • Midfield dynamo Fernandinho has been particularly pivotal. Absent in two of their recent three defeats, City have a 64.3% win rate when he’s not in the side – with him it’s 74.1%.
  • Both teams have scored in nine of City’s last ten competitive matches
  • Sergio Aguero has nine EPL goals for City

LIVERPOOL

Liverpool didn’t concede more than once in any Premier League match so far and have 12 clean sheets already. Against City in Manchester, however, they’ve conceded in eight straight league matches (W1, D2, L5).

These teams have both won at half-time and full-time (W/W) on 13 occasions this EPL season – a league high. However, Liverpool has been more resilient, turning four of six half-time draws into wins (two of five for City), and rescuing a draw from a losing half-time position the one time they’ve been in that situation (City have lost two of two).

The Reds destroyed Unai Emery’s Arsenal with a 5-1 victory at Anfield despite the fact that the Gunners took an early lead through Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ first-ever goal for the club. Roberto Firmino responded with two quick goals in the space of three minutes, while Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also scored to give Liverpool a big 4-1 halftime lead. Firmino completed his first-ever Premier League hat-trick with a goal from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, setting the final score, 5-1.

Jurgen Klopp will be without Joe Gomez (broken ankle), Joel Matip (shoulder), Dominic Solanke (groin), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), while James Milner returned to training and should be ready to face his former team.

Betting Trends:

  • Directly involved in 20 EPL goals this season (13 goals, seven assists), Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has six in his last five matches
  • Jurgen Klopp holds the upper hand in his H2H battle with Pep Guardiola (W8, D2, L5)
  • Liverpool scored at least two goals in each of their last six Premier League games

Liverpool won six out of the previous ten H2H encounters including three out of the last four (D1), while the Reds were victorious in two out of the past four meetings at the Etihad Stadium (D1, L1). Liverpool proved they are the best team in the league thus far but Man City is perhaps the only team that can hand Klopp’s side the first league defeat. However, the hosts will be under pressure to perform well and get three points, while Liverpool can wait for their chance on the counter and will be satisfied with a point here, and that’s why I am going with a draw in this one. Mohamed Salah will have a favorable matchup against Oleksandr Zinchenko who could be forced to fill the left-back role as Fabian Delph and Benjamin Mendy are unavailable for this tilt, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Egyptian King” single-handedly destroys the Citizens.

MY PICK: Draw (+375)

ADDITIONAL PICK: Four out of the last five H2H duels produced at least three goals and even though the rivals didn’t produce a single goal in the latest 0-0 stalemate at Anfield, I expect to see goals on both sides here as the Citizens’ defense simply cannot record a clean sheet lately (none in the previous ten games in all competitions). Also, the hosts must score if they want to have a chance to close the gap to four points, and the -120 odds on BTTS and over 2.5 goals are too good to ignore them.

MY PICK: BTTS and Over 2.5 (-120)

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