Second-place Manchester City will have a chance to climb back to within seven points of league leading Manchester United when they host seventh-place Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in an important English Premier League matchup on Sunday Feb. 3.
City has a total of 52 points on 15 wins, seven draws and two defeats with 45 goals scored and 19 allowed. Liverpool has 35 points on nine wins, eight draws and seven losses with 22 goals scored and 30 allowed. United pulled 10 points ahead after beating Fulham 1-0 at Craven cottage on Saturday.
William Hill has the latest odds of a Man City win at 17/20 with a Liverpool victory at 10/3 and a draw at 5/2.
Man City is coming off of a disappointing 0-0 draw at last-placed Queens Park Rangers during the week while Liverpool blew a 2-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium in London and had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Arsenal. Before that they were humiliated in the FA Cup last weekend when they were beaten 3-2 at Oldham.
Liverpool will be depending on their Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez to keep up his scoring heroics. He has 17 league goals on the season so far and is in fine form. Man City’s leading scorer is striker Edin Dezeko with 10 goals. They also have Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero up front, but they finally got rid of the troublesome Mario Balotelli this when they transferred him to Milan. Without Balotelli around to cause problems, things should now run a lot smoother for manager Roberto Mancini.
Liverpool has had a feat when playing the bottom 10 teams of the league, but they haven’t beaten a top-10 club yet this campaign. The last time these two teams met earlier in the season Liverpool threw the game away when defender Martin Skrtel passed the ball directly to Tevez who buried it in Liverpool’s net to give City an unearned 2-2 draw.
City will likely play Javi Garcia in this match since the midfielder has played well lately. The team looks like it will be without the services of captain Vincent Kompany due to an injury and fellow defender Matija Nastasic looks to join him on the sidelines. Garcia, usually a midfielder, may be played in central defence if Nastasic can’t play.
Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher has been playing better this season and he’s usually picked by manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of Sebastian Coates and Skrtel. However, Carragher can often be a liability on the pitch due to his lack of pace and penchant for giving away free kicks due to constant fouls. Young Liverpool midfielder/forward Raheem Sterling will probably take some stick form the Manchester crowd as the 18-year-old was charged this week for assaulting a woman in November. Sterling’s Liverpool debut came against City in August.
City will prove to be a tough nut to crack since goalkeeper Joe Hart has kept six straight clean sheets. Liverpool could possibly earn a draw, but a win on the road against City looks doubtful.