Manchester City vs Liverpool preview, betting tips and predictions: City to edge tight heavyweight clash on home turf

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Manchester City to win and BTTS @ 2/1 with Betfair

Score draw @ 10/3 with Betfair

Manchester City to win and over 2.5 goals @ 7/5 with Betfair

Manchester City and Liverpool felt pain and elation on transfer deadline day. The Reds were left relieved that they were able to stave off Barcelona’s advances for star playmaker Philippe Coutinho, rejecting as much as £118million for the Brazilian. City, though, were left dejected after their £60million offer for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez was rejected. Both players wanted to move but neither got their wish, and only one will be available to play in this game on Saturday.

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Despite missing out on one of his main targets, Pep Guardiola does not have much scope for complaint given the £200million he spent improving his already star-studded squad. All of the pressure in every single game they play this season will be on City, and this is no different. The attacking quality on both sides should ensure this is a quality match up, and given Gabriel Jesus found the net at Bournemouth last week, he could be set for a good run of form having not scored in the games beforehand. Sadio Mane is joint top scorer this season with Romelu Lukaku on three goals from four games; he and Mo Salah are striking up a great understanding on the wings and he is a definitely good bet to score in this game at 2/1 anytime with Betfair.

But one of our tips is BTTS for that very reason. Mane and Salah provide a new outlet for Liverpool and they will look to get in behind City, who play with wing-backs and a very high line. The more stretched City are, the bigger the chance of an open game, but the home side should maintain control of the game because they have more strength in the middle of midfield. Over 2.5 goals, even if only one team scores, seems likely given both teams have a propensity to attack. Neither team have a real midfield destroyer and will play a high line, which is a recipe for a high scoring game. Last season was tight, with a 1-1 draw being salvaged by the hosts through a Sergio Aguero strike after a James Milner penalty gave the visitors the lead.

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City will have learnt a lot from the 1-1 draw with Everton earlier in the campaign and will be desperate to avoid a repeat. Ronald Koeman’s men got on the front foot straight away and scored early, meaning City could not apply pressure straight away. The overload of creativity will give them the edge as they look to do this, but if not then the likes of Coutinho, Mane and Salah could strike early and look to frustrate, which they did to a degree last season.

Key battle: Fernandinho vs Jordan Henderson

As already mentioned before, neither of these teams have a recognised play-breaker in the mould of an N’Golo Kante and they will play a high line. But Henderson and Fernandinho will be deepest in midfield for City and Liverpool respectively. Whilst Fernandinho is more defensive minded than Henderson, whose main aim is to dictate the tempo of the play, the Brazilian will be more isolated by the system Guardiola usually employs.

Kevin de Bruyne has begun to play a bit closer to him in recent weeks, but the Belgian usually pushes up alongside David Silva, the wingers and Jesus and Aguero. The likes of Coutinho may have more space in which to run at Fernandinho, while Liverpool’s midfield will stay more compact and disciplined, moving as more of a unit. Whoever protects their defence better will stand in good stead to provide the base for victory.

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