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Is there value backing Liverpool to beat Manchester City?

3/1/2019
Good or bad, Liverpool is guaranteed to make history this May.

As Jurgen Klopp’s side heads to Manchester City sitting top of the league, every Liverpool fan will be fully aware their club has never won the Premier League title; yet no team in Premier League history has been seven points or more ahead of second place on New Year’s Day and not gone on to win the league. Something’s got to give.

Excluding the wider implications of the encounter, City is the firm favourite with bookmakers to put a dent in those hopes and triumph at the Etihad Stadium.

Despite Liverpool’s five wins in its last five league games – and its seven-point lead over City – Pep Guardiola’s team is evens with Sky Bet and Ladbrokes to take all three points; you can find an 11/10 best price with BetVictor and Betfred.

While Liverpool has 26 points from 10 away games in the Premier League this season, Manchester City has taken 27 points from its 10 home games. That means, aside from a freak 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace three days before Christmas, City has won every single home match this campaign.

Even though Guardiola’s side has only won one of its last 11 against Liverpool, meanwhile, it was this exact fixture Manchester City won in such convincing fashion last season – beating the Reds 5-0 after Sadio Mané was sent off. Liverpool’s only win in their last nine league visits to the Etihad came in 2015, while Sergio Aguero has scored in all six of his home league appearances against the Merseyside outfit.

But Klopp knows what it takes to win this fixture, following a 2-1 Champions League win at City in April, and his side will be looking to exploit a run of City form which includes two losses and one draw in its last five. Unbeaten this season, Liverpool is 5/2 with the likes of Bet365, Betfair and BetVictor to win, while the draw is 29/10 with Bet365, 14/5 with BetVictor and 13/5 with Ladbrokes.

Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty during a 0-0 draw at Anfield in October, blowing the chance to end the Reds’ unbeaten league run with Klopp’s side looking at its most vulnerable. Liverpool’s form since then, however, has sky rocketed, culminating in a 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal on Saturday.

There has been talk of a Liverpool win virtually “clinching” the title. That, though, will only increase the pressure on Manchester City. A City win, by contrast, would close the gap to four points – far from the end of the world for a Liverpool team that will not face a tougher fixture on paper for the remainder of the campaign.

The team news, too, slightly favours Klopp’s men, with James Milner potentially fit to return following a muscle injury. Ilkay Gündogan could come back for City but the talismanic Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt and Fabian Delph is suspended. City has not kept a clean sheet in its last 10 matches – its longest streak since 2015 – and Guardiola has lost seven times against Klopp, more than anyone else in his managerial career.

Considering Liverpool’s form and price, there is clear value in backing the Reds, while a double chance bet on Liverpool or a draw at 8/11 will William Hill could be worth pursuing.

But City certainly has the bookmakers’ favour and there’s no reason Guardiola’s side can’t claim all three points. Even if the title race remains an altogether different matter.

By Tim Poole
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