EPL: Liverpool vs. Manchester City odds, preview, and pick
Struggling defending champ Liverpool will take on current league leader Manchester City on Sunday, Feb. 7 in our Premier League match of the week.
Manchester City is favored on the road, with a higher-scoring match expected.
Liverpool vs. Manchester City odds
Anfield no longer Liverpool’s fortress
After a stretch of more than three and a half years without tasting defeat at home in the Premier League, Liverpool is trying to pick up the pieces after a second straight defeat at Anfield. Brighton’s 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Wednesday left the Reds seven points adrift of the top of the table, and it was their second consecutive loss to a team in the bottom five.
Jürgen Klopp’s men continue to deal with offensive struggles in 2021. Liverpool has not scored in a match at home in three attempts since the turn of the year. Against Brighton, Liverpool took 13 shots but put just four on target. Liverpool also missed three terrific scoring chances, including an effort from Mohamed Salah that he skied into row Z.
The Liverpool defense has also conceded goals to teams it typically would not. With Fabinho expected to miss the match, new defensive signees Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak may be featured, so Jordan Henderson can return to the midfield.
A loss would put Liverpool 10 points behind. Liverpool's title hopes would be at an end, and there is no guarantee of a top-four finish with its current form.
The Reds will need to find their scoring touch against one of the best defensive units in Europe. With Sadio Mane likely out, this task may be too much for them to manage.
Manchester City looks to move further ahead of the pack
The Citizens are on an impressive run. Winners of 13 straight in all competitions, a victory Sunday would give them 10 consecutive Premier League wins. Manchester City has not trailed at any time in its last nine league matches, and have conceded a goal just once, an injury-time goal to Chelsea in a 3-1 win.
The loss of Kevin De Bruyne in midfield has not slowed the side down, as Ilkay Gundogan has stepped up to be the conductor of Pep Guardiola’s orchestra. John Stones and Ruben Dias have given City the center-back partnership it has sought for the last few seasons.
At 30 years of age, İlkay Gündoğan is enjoying a new lease on life in attack, scoring 7 goals in his last 8 and leading City to first place.@ollie_himsworth analyzes Gündoğan’s movement in the final third: https://t.co/hVakyWI7aT pic.twitter.com/X8tm4A1Qey— Breaking The Lines (@BTLvid) January 29, 2021
Manchester City looks again like a true Pep team — players switching positions, fluid high-pace ball movement, and dominant spells of possession. The Citizens have even employed a tactic of his Barcelona days, running a false nine in the absence of Sergio Aguero. That could be utilized against a Liverpool squad that likes to get its fullbacks involved in attack, which would force them to stay back a bit to protect against wide runs in behind.
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In Manchester City's nine consecutive Premier League wins, it has kept clean sheets in eight. However, City has not recorded a win at Anfield since 2003, a run of 21 matches across all competitions.
Liverpool has not scored in any of its last three home Premier League tilts, and in its last four at Anfield, the total has gone Under 2.5 goals. Manchester City has scored at least two goals in each of its last three away matches in league play.
Liverpool was able to grind out a 1-1 draw earlier in the season against City, but it did so with a 4-2-4 attack and a high press. Injuries will make that nearly impossible to repeat, so Liverpool likely will revert back to a 4-3-3 and hope Salah can get behind the defense on the break. However, his struggles over the past month mean he may not even capitalize if he gets the chances.
Given the disdain between Guardiola and Klopp, dating back to their time in the Bundesliga, I expect City to come out with ruthless aggression.