Sep 9, 2017 at 12.30pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 54,172
Man CityManchester City
5-0
Liverpool
Aguero (25'), Jesus (45', 53'), Sane (77', 91')
Otamendi (6'), Fernandinho (28')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Alexander-Arnold (20'), Can (80')
Mane (37')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Two of the Premier League's top four will go head to head on Saturday afternoon when Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Just one place and two points separated the teams in the final standings last season, and they have both made unbeaten starts to the new campaign to sit on seven points apiece after three games.


Man City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal on April 23, 2017© SilverHub

Pep Guardiola is the first to admit that his second season in charge of Manchester City needs to be more successful than his first, and while his side have made an unbeaten start to the campaign, the Spaniard will hope that there is still more to come over the next few months.

It took two goals in the final 20 minutes to overcome newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion on the opening day of the season, and another late goal was required to rescue a point against Everton in their first home game of the campaign.

Raheem Sterling was the hero on that occasion, and the former Liverpool man - who is suspended for this weekend's contest against his old club - left it even later to clinch all three points against Bournemouth last time out.

The joy of his 97th-minute winner was immediately tempered by a second yellow card for his celebration, but the importance of turning one point into three - even this early in the season - should not be underestimated considering City only finished three points above fifth-placed Arsenal last term.

While City have left it late on the pitch so far, they got the majority of their transfer business done nice and early this summer and deadline day turned out to be a quiet one for Guardiola's side as they missed out on Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez would have undoubtedly added to an already fearsome attack, but the concern amongst City fans will be that they have failed to strengthen enough defensively - especially in the middle - and Saturday's match will be a test of the current crop as they come up against a Liverpool attack which has made a flying start to the season.

The Citizens are still unbeaten at home in the Premier League this calendar year, winning eight and drawing five of their 13 league outings in front of their own fans since a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea last December.

However, they will not need reminding that Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool put them to the sword on their own patch in November 2015, with that 4-1 defeat still the last time City were beaten by three goals at the Etihad Stadium.

Both clubs also have the beginning of their Champions League campaign on the horizon in midweek, with City facing a trip to Feyenoord on Wednesday to kick off their group stage.

However, they must first overcome a stern test against a team expected to challenge them for a top-four spot at the very least this season, with the added incentive of knowing that victory would take them top of the table.

Recent form: WDW


Liverpool

Mohamed Salah celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Arsenal on August 27, 2017© SilverHub

Reds fans around the world would have been bemoaning the same old Liverpool when defending set pieces proved to be their Achilles heel during the topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Watford on the opening day of the season, but their most recent outing would have reminded them that there are positives to their identity under Klopp.

Liverpool have been notorious for thriving against their direct rivals since the German took charge, and they enhanced that reputation further still with a resounding 4-0 victory over Arsenal before the international break - a scoreline which flattered the Gunners more than it did Liverpool.

The Reds are now unbeaten in their last 16 league matches against the teams who finished in the top seven last season, winning nine of those and drawing seven in a run which stretches back to January 2016.

Klopp has a particularly good record against Man City in that time, winning three and losing none of the four league meetings since his arrival in the Premier League.

Liverpool go into this weekend's match in fine form too, having won each of their last four games across all competitions, scoring four goals in both of their last two.

In addition to the rout of Arsenal before the international break, Liverpool also flexed their attacking muscles to power past Hoffenheim in the Champions League playoffs and excitement will be beginning to grow ahead of their return to the competition which they have won five times.

Sevilla will be the visitors on Wednesday for the first Champions League group game at Anfield since December 2014, but if Liverpool are to pick up where they left off before the international break then they will need to be fully focused on the trip to the Etihad Stadium first.

The Reds pulled off the biggest Premier League transfer of deadline day with the purchase of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but, much like City, the failure to add reinforcements in central defence has led to questions being asked regarding their title chances.

So far Liverpool have been able to outscore the opposition, with the attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah already having scored nine goals between them this season, and the prospect of Philippe Coutinho joining them will excite fans further - although the Brazilian may need to win some over having unsuccessfully pushed for a move to Barcelona in the recent window.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last six Premier League away games stretching back to last season, and six points from two games against Arsenal and Man City either side of the international break would certainly serve to strengthen their title credentials.

Recent form: DWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWWWW


Team News

Raheem Sterling walks off after seeing red during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Manchester City on August 26, 2017© SilverHub

Guardiola will be without the suspended Sterling following his controversial red card against Bournemouth last time out, which could see Leroy Sane return to the side.

Sergio Aguero - who has scored in each of his five home league games against Liverpool - and John Stones were among the other big names to be left out at the Vitality Stadium, and both will be hopeful of a recall this weekend.

Vincent Kompany is rated at 50-50 due to a calf injury, but Kyle Walker is available to return having served his one-game ban.

Liverpool welcomed Coutinho back to training this week and the wantaway Brazilian - scorer of four goals in six games against City - could be involved for the first time this season should Klopp opt to throw him straight back into the team.

Oxlade-Chamberlain may have to wait for his debut following his deadline-day move as Klopp is unlikely to make too many changes to the team that thrashed Arsenal before the international break.

Simon Mignolet - who was rested against the Gunners - will hope to earn his starting place back, while Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold will once again battle it out for the right-back spot after the news that Nathaniel Clyne could be sidelined until the turn of the year.

On the opposite side of the defence, Alberto Moreno will face competition from Andrew Robertson but could keep his place having resurrected his Liverpool career so far this season.

Man City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Bernardo, Aguero, Sane

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane


Head To Head

Liverpool have had the better of this fixture in recent times, with their only defeat in the last six meetings coming on penalties in the 2016 League Cup final.

In the Premier League alone the Reds have gone five matches without defeat against City - their longest streak since a 10-match run between 2005 and 2010.

The most recent meeting in March ended 1-1, with Aguero cancelling out James Milner's penalty as the spoils were shared at the Etihad Stadium. Milner's strike means that it is now 13 meetings since City last kept a clean sheet against Liverpool.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Man City 2-2 Liverpool

This match pits two strong attacks against two fairly flimsy defences, and the safest prediction is simply that there will be goals. Should Liverpool replicate their performance against Arsenal then they are entirely capable of running out comfortable winners once more, but Man City also have the firepower to put Liverpool to the sword. The result could go either way, but it is almost certain to provide entertainment.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool?

Man City
Draw
Liverpool
Man City
20.8%
Draw
18.1%
Liverpool
61.1%
Philippe Coutinho in action during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on May 7, 2017
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2Manchester UnitedMan Utd65101721516
3Chelsea6411125713
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs6321105511
5Liverpool63211211111
6Watford6321910-111
7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield62315329
8Burnley62316519
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle63036519
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom52214408
11Southampton622245-18
12Arsenal521278-17
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton621357-27
14Everton6213411-77
15Swansea CitySwansea612337-45
16Stoke CityStoke6123510-55
17Leicester CityLeicester6114912-34
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6114613-74
19Bournemouth6105411-73
20Crystal Palace6006013-130
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