Liverpool v Manchester City
The Analyst looks at the key fixture between the Premier League’s two form sides, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Last year, this fixture was being billed as the title decider, and it may well have been were it not for Steven Gerrard’s infamous slip.
This time around, things are a little different. Both sides are in good form, but early season struggles have left them in the chasing pack. However, good results last week mean City have closed the gap on league leaders, Chelsea, to five points, while Liverpool are now just a couple of points out of fourth.
These results mean this fixture is of heightened importance to both the title race and the race for Champions League spots. Neither side can afford to lose ground to those in front of them, meaning we can expect a cracking atmosphere at Anfield, on Sunday.
Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool
26/12/13: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool
13/4/14: Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City
Liverpool – WWDWWW
Manchester City – DLDDWW
Philippe Coutinho v David Silva
He has had his critics at times this season, but few will forget Philippe Coutinho’s wonder goal against Southampton in last weekend’s key fixture. The breathtakingly unexpected strike was just one of several moments of magic from a player who has excelled during Liverpool’s recent unbeaten run.
The Brazilian was maddeningly inconsistent during the early portion of the season, but like many of his teammates, his form has gotten better and better as the weeks have gone on. Over the last six matches, he has led the league with 13 successful through balls and also created 13 chances for teammates.
In contrast Silva’s recent performances had been slightly lacking in impact, until he scored twice during City’s spectacular 5-0 drubbing over Newcastle in Gameweek 27. Now back amongst the goals, the Spaniard will be looking to keep the run going in this vital fixture.
Jordan Henderson v Yaya Toure
Henderson was one of the men at the center of the penalty incident during Liverpool’s Europa League victory over Besiktas. The future Liverpool captain may not have covered himself in glory, but he has grown impressively under Brendan Rodgers, and is playing some of the best football of his career.
This week, however, he faces one of the toughest challenges in the Premier League in Yaya Toure. Of all the big players that City have been missing this year, it was Toure’s absence that made them look most inept.
His return, against Newcastle, coincided with City’s most complete performance of the season. A closer look at the stats shows that City’s results directly correlate with whether Toure is on the pitch. The Champions have won the last ten games in which he has appeared, with Toure scoring six times in those games.
– Both sides have scored in the last three meetings between the two sides, meaning it may not be the week to use their defenders. On the other hand, Simon Mignolet’s recent form has been exceptional. Can he pick up another clean sheet, this weekend?
– With no Kane, Costa or Austin, expect all eyes to be on Sergio Aguero in the fantasy world. At 30.9% he is currently PlayON’s 2nd most picked player for Gameweek 27.