Sunday 1st March – 12:00 – Anfield
Manchester City will look to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to two points when they travel to Liverpool on Sunday. With Jose Mourinho’s side occupied with the Capital One Cup final, the champions can move to within touching distance of the Blues with victory at Anfield. City enter the game on the back of another disappointing performance in Europe, having lost 2-1 at home to Barcelona on Tuesday, and they will be looking for a positive response in the league to follow on from their 5-0 win over Newcastle last weekend. Liverpool also suffered European despair in midweek as they were dumped out of the Europa League on penalties by Turkish side Besiktas. They are on good form in the league though, beating a strong Southampton side 2-0 last weekend, and victory on Sunday would see the Reds strengthen their claim for a top-four finish. The two sides were locked in the title race battle this time last season, and although they are slightly further apart at the moment, the game should still be a close, entertaining encounter.
The Key Battle: Philippe Coutinho vs David Silva
Two of the Premier League’s creative talents, Coutinho was rested against Besiktas as he didn’t travel with the squad.
The Brazilian has been in good form for Liverpool and should return to the starting XI, looking to build on his three goals and four assists so far this season.
He hit the back of the net last weekend, surprising everyone when he released a 35 yard screamer past a helpless Fraser Forster against Southampton.
David Silva is the main attacking fulcrum for Manchester City, while Yaya Toure provides those lung bursting runs and Aguero provides the goals, it is Silva who can bring the team to life with some silky approach play leaving a lot of defences in tatters.
He scored twice against Newcastle last weekend as well as setting up one in a 5-0 win, taking his totals to nine goals (his best in a Premier League season) and three assists in 2014-15.
- Philippe Coutinho returns on Sunday after being rested against Besiktas but Jordan Henderson’s ankle problem will be reassessed.
- Mamadou Sakho has resumed training this week after a hip injury while full-back Glen Johnson could be back after illness meant he missed the trip to Istanbul.
- Lazar Markovic was suspended for the Europa League fixture, but should return.
- Yaya Toure was another player suspended in midweek and he returns after missing the game against Barcelona.
- Manuel Pellegrini has a fully fit squad to choose from, and there’s competition for a starting place in all areas of the pitch.
- Wilfried Bony could be in line for his first start after making his City debut off the bench last weekend.
Liverpool wins = 81 / Manchester City wins = 41 / Draws = 41
Last Meeting: Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool (25th August 2014)
Manchester City delivered an early statement of intent as the Premier League champions comfortably overcame last season’s runners-up Liverpool at Etihad Stadium. Stevan Jovetic scored either side of half-time to punish Liverpool, who dominated much of the first half without creating the opportunities to go with their excellent work-rate and approach work. Any hopes of a Reds comeback were snuffed out when Sergio Aguero slid home the third 23 seconds after coming on as substitute for the injured Edin Dzeko. Pablo Zabaleta’s own goal at least got Liverpool on the scoresheet but the last 20 minutes were played out as a formality, such was City’s control.
Stat of the Match
Liverpool have claimed two more points (17) than any other Premier League club in 2015. They are the only unbeaten Premier League side in this calendar year.
Where can I watch it?
The game is live on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday, with coverage beginning at 11:30am and kick-off is half an hour later. Alternatively, you can watch the highlights on BBC One’s Match of the Day at 10:30pm that evening.
My Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City
Both sides will want to bounce back after poor European performances, and their desire could be matched, leading to an even game. Raheem Sterling will score for the hosts, with Sergio Aguero notching for City, although I do expect both teams to really push for a winner towards the end of the game.