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A look at the statistics behind Manchester City's clash with Liverpool

A look at the statistics behind Manchester City's clash with Liverpool
© Reuters
The Reds have moved seven points clear with a nine-match winning run while City have lost three of their last four.

Premier League leaders Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City meet on Thursday at the Etihad Stadium, with plenty to play for in the title race.

The Reds have moved seven points clear of City with a nine-match winning run while City have lost three of their last five, meaning Pep Guardiola's side will need a win to boost their hopes of retaining the prize.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what the statistics say about the high-profile clash.

Unstoppable forces, immovable objects

Alisson Becker, right
Alisson Becker (right) has the most clean sheets in this season's Premier League but is sure to be tested by City (Nigel French/PA)

City's league-leading attack meets the Premier League's best defence this season, while the units rated second in each category face off at Ederson's end of the pitch.

Liverpool have conceded only eight goals in their 20 league games to date – half as many as City, their closest challengers along with Chelsea. They lead the way with 12 clean sheets and have yet to concede more than one in a match.

That is despite facing more shots on target than City, 54 to 51. The impressive Alisson Becker has averaged 2.3 saves per match, compared to City goalkeeper Ederson's 1.8.

They must contain City's 54-goal attack, with Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling on nine goals apiece and six City players having scored five or more.

Liverpool's 13-goal talisman Mohamed Salah provides the main threat to City's miserly defence, who have eight clean sheets in the league but 13 in all competitions.

The latter figure is just one fewer than the Reds but includes a cup tie against League One Oxford and both Champions League games against Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as an extra game in the form of the Community Shield.

Pick of 2018

It is no shock the two teams were the top performers in 2018's league action, but the surprise comes from seeing them level on points for the calendar year.

City won the 2017-18 title by 19 points from second-placed Manchester United, with Liverpool 25 off the pace in fourth.

The Reds, though, won 10 of their 17 league games after the turn of the year and have taken 54 points from a possible 60 this season to match City's haul of 88 in 2018 – City hold sway on goal difference by a margin of six.

Both teams won an average of 2.38 points in each of their 37 games, with Tottenham the only other team in England's top four divisions to surpass two points per game (2.24).

United averaged 1.95 while Luton, with 1.91, were the top-performing team outside the top flight. Accrington, Chelsea, Lincoln, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa rounded out the top 10, with Portsmouth missing out on goal difference.

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 21, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City35292489226789
2Liverpool35277179205988
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs352311165353070
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal35206969462366
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd35197963501364
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves35149124443151
8Watford35148135050050
9Everton35147145044649
10Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton35910164158-1737
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3597193254-2234
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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