Liverpool v Man City: Reds may edge clash of the titans

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LIVERPOOL host Manchester City on Super Sunday from Anfield. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the televised mega-clash.

Liverpool v Manchester City | Sunday 10th November 2019, 16:30 | Sky Sports

It’s the biggest game of the season, it’s the one people’s eyes were instantly scanning for back when the Premier League fixtures were announced and it’s finally here.

In pre-season Manchester City were the bookies favourites to once again reign supreme; maybe folk felt Liverpool wouldn’t run them as close as last year but it’s now the Reds who are the team fancied to lift a long overdue title. It’s two teams obsessed with winning and by 6:30pm on Sunday the odds in the outright market may well have swung again.

Liverpool have won by all manner of ways this campaign and many have said they’ve been a tad lucky in doing so; it’s a train of thought I cannot subscribe to. Sure, football has a degree of luck involved but in the main you make your own luck and the rampant Reds have done exactly that.

An ode to Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp’s charges keep going till the end and their streetwise nature is allowing them to gain marginal advantages in the dying embers of matches. The Merseyside men have won comfortably against teams, won by the odd goal, won from behind, won with key men out injured – it’s a collective winning spirit that the manager has ingrained at the club

Klopp gets tarred with the “charismatic” nametag quite often but there’s so much more to managerial repertoire. Recruitment has been first class, bringing in players who complement each other, who have effusive energy and the right mindset. His tactical awareness is first class, knowing how to hurt teams on the pitch, when to press, which substitutes to bring on and when.

The German’s choice of a three-man midfield means teams tend to match them up, with the superb movement and eminent threat of the oh so dangerous front three it gives ample space out wide for full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to whip in devilishly difficult balls into the box.

If teams decide to focus on doubling up on the wide men then they can bring on midfield ball carriers in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Naby Keita to get them up the pitch through the middle of the park.

Fabinho has been excellent in holding midfield, his ability to break up play when he has to and to control the game when he has to makes him one of the most influential in that position in Europe. If he does lose the ball he gets it back straight away, octopus-like with his long legs regaining possession.

When you have centre halves that split and full backs that get forward it’s imperative to have a disciplined defensive midfielder who can drop into a three if needs be, his role cannot be underestimated.

City vulnerable?

Manchester City are another irrepressible side to watch but they’ve dropped points because of naivety. Their major mistake was made in the summer in failing to replace the colossal captain Vincent Kompany; they only have one reliable centre half in Aymeric Laporte and his injury has coincided with a few dodgy displays at the back.

Laporte gives them reassurance but it’s visible that when he is out the backline looks gettable, it drops the confidence of the City players and boosts that of the opposition. Slack passing in the middle of the pitch saw Wolves intercept and capitalise with the skill and awareness of Raul Jimenez and the pace and cool finishing of Adama Traore.

It may seem harsh to criticise a side that have won 8/11 Premier League games but these are the high standards we are talking about. Pep Guardiola, by his own admission, is a perfectionist and he will not be satisfied with his sides points tally thus far.

With the relentlessness of this Liverpool side can City afford to lose this one and drop nine points behind their rivals? It will be a test of their mettle and would be a great achievement if they can be the first side to oust the Reds at Anfield in over two seasons.

The betting

There’s a cigarette paper between the pair in the 1X2 market with the visitors marginal 8/5 favourites and the hosts trading at 13/8. I ran a poll on Twitter to get a feel of who the public think should be favourites and interestingly 70% of people think Liverpool deserve to be jollies and it’s understandable with their impeccable home record.

However, that very fact makes it more difficult from a betting perspective. Perhaps Klopp and co will happily take a draw to keep their challengers at arm’s length. With that in mind, I want the stalemate onside in one way or the other.

We can use the handy BetBuilder feature on Bet365 to combine Liverpool in the Double Chance market, plus Under 5 Goals and Over 1 Card to get a 4/5 shot and that appeals.

Michael Oliver has the whistle here and he’s dished out at least two cards in eight of his nine league games this season and with the stakes high we could see a few cards. Usually goals are a given with these two but last season it was a drab 0-0 draw as both sides cancelled each other out, a repeat wouldn’t be out of the question.

Penalty potential

With the introduction of VAR it’s no surprise that more penalties have been awarded. Understandably, the bookies have cottoned on to this but there’s still some discrepancy in the prices between rival firms.

Unibet go 11/5 on a spot kick been given whereas SkyBet for instance are as short as 11/10. Given the tricky forward players on show and the likelihood of plenty of decisions going to VAR I’d say anything goes above 2/1 is worth a bet, especially given the amount of penalties Liverpool get at Anfield.

Best Bets

Liverpool v Manchester City – Liverpool double chance, Under 5 Goals and Over 1 Card (4/5 Bet365)

Liverpool v Manchester City – A penalty to be awarded (11/5 Unibet)

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