Eight sub-plots: Manchester City vs Liverpool

After a shaky start to the season Liverpool answered a lot of critics with a convincing display against a poor Arsenal side, but now their credentials will be put to the test against a much sterner opposition in the shape of Manchester City. What are some of the plots to this tale? 

  • Manchester City are in the ascendancy at home. They have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Liverpool. However, under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp the Reds have won three times out of four matches.
  • We know the Reds beat Arsenal, and that result continued their strong record against teams inside the top seven. Liverpool have lost just one match against opposition that have finished inside the top echelon of the Premier League under Klopp over a 22 game period.
  • What makes the above stat a little more formidable for Liverpool is the fact they are unbeaten on the road against last season’s top seven side in the PL during this time.
  • In saying that, Manchester City are extremely difficult to beat at the Etihad. Over their last 23 games they have only lost once.
  • Liverpool’s ace in the hole may be Sadio Mane though, the Reds flyer has scored seven goals in his last nine Premier League matches. If he scores again, Mane will equal a record set by Daniel Sturridge, Dirk Kuyt and Michael Owen for scoring in five consecutive league games.
  • Surely, there will be plenty of eyes glued to Mane’s performance. But let’s not forget the transfer window has finally closed, meaning Philippe Coutinho may return from his Barcelona induced “back injury”. If this is the case Manchester City may worry, because the Brazilian has scored four times in six appearances against them. Those goals are more than any other opponent against Manchester City.
  • City’s South American response comes from Sergio Aguero, who has scored in all five matches versus Liverpool at the Etihad. This feat is bettered only by Alan Shearer vs Everton, Thierry Henry vs Aston Villa and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink vs West Ham. The trio have all scored six consecutive times against their respective opponents.
  • Finally, two wilcards for both sides. Gabriel Jesus has scored eight goals for City and has been involved in 12 goals in total. While, James Milner has been directly involved in three Liverpool goals over four games against Manchester City since he left.

What can we expect?

To put it simply, maybe a firecracker in a box? That was hardly simple was it? Expect a cagey affair that endorses exciting end-to-end attacking football, but perhaps a low scoring affair considering the previous two matches were decided by two goals or less.

However, contrary to that, is the potential for this game to explode with goals, hence the firecracker. There will be plenty of talent on the pitch, and there are multiple proven goalscorers and creators. Before the aforementioned previous low-scoring matches, these two dished up 10 goals in three matches.

Finally, there is quite an intriguing South American sub-plot. Will Sergio Aguero score in a sixth consecutive match against Liverpool and go down in history? Does Jurgen Klopp deem Philippe Coutinho fit to play and if so, will the Brazilian play to his full potential and perhaps extend his own record against Manchester City?

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