The Premier League returns after the international break with one of the headline fixtures of the season. We look ahead to Saturday’s huge game at the Etihad Stadium with our Manchester City vs Liverpool prediction and preview.
Manchester City vs Liverpool Stats: The Quick Hits
- Manchester City are predicted to beat Liverpool, with Pep Guardiola’s side winning 51.5% of the Opta supercomputer’s pre-match simulations.
- Man City have won their last 23 competitive home games. Another victory would see them equal the record run by an English top-flight club, with Sunderland enjoying a 24-game streak between December 1890 and April 1892.
- A goal for Erling Haaland would see him smash the record for the fewest games required to reach 50 Premier League goals (currently 49 in 47 matches). However, the Norwegian has never scored a league goal against Liverpool.
The Premier League returns after the international break on Saturday, and it does so with a bang as rivals Manchester City and Liverpool battle for top spot in a mouthwatering early kick-off. With just a solitary point separating these two giants after 12 games, who will come out on top?
There is little love lost between City and Liverpool, who have won the last six Premier League titles between them while reaching a combined five UEFA Champions League finals in the last six years. A decade of competition between Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp in Germany and England has seen them push each other on to ever-greater heights, and they have faced each other more often than either has faced another manager in their respective careers (28 times).
Klopp’s 11 wins in those matches are more than any other manager has recorded against Guardiola. The City boss has 10 victories over Klopp, also more than anyone else has managed.
Guardiola has had almost two weeks to analyse Matchday 12’s incredible 4-4 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – a strong candidate for the game of the season so far. City inched ahead three times in that back-and-forth contest as Rodri and Manuel Akanji added to Erling Haaland’s brace, but Rúben Dias’ clumsy foul on Armando Broja allowed City academy graduate Cole Palmer to convert a stoppage-time penalty, ensuring the spoils were shared.
That draw accounted for a third of the 12 league goals City have shipped this season, and Guardiola will have been troubled by their lack of control. They will likely be without John Stones again on Saturday, while Nathan Aké also missed their last game through injury. Goalkeeper Ederson is expected to be available despite withdrawing from Brazil’s squad for their 2026 World Cup qualifying defeats to Colombia and Argentina.
Guardiola also has a major fitness concern in attack, with Haaland missing Norway’s draw with Scotland after suffering an ankle knock last week. City are hoping their talisman will be available as he closes in on Andy Cole’s record for the fewest games required to reach 50 Premier League goals.
Haaland currently has 49 in 47 appearances in the competition, while Cole needed 65 matches to bring up his half-century. However, Liverpool are one of just two teams Haaland has faced in the Premier League without ever scoring, along with Brentford.
Liverpool entered the international break in second place following their 3-0 win over Brentford on Matchday 12, their ninth victory in as many games at Anfield across all competitions in 2023-24.
This will be the fourth time City and Liverpool have met in the Premier League while starting the day as the top two in the table. Only three fixtures have been played more often with the teams occupying the top two places, with Arsenal, Chelsea and City all facing Manchester United on six such occasions.
Mohamed Salah scored twice against Brentford, with Diogo Jota also on target. Only Haaland (13) has more Premier League goals than Salah’s 10 this campaign, and he is two goals away from reaching 200 for Liverpool in all competitions. He looks destined to become the fifth Reds player to reach that landmark, after Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson and Billy Liddell.
Eleven of Salah’s goals for Liverpool have come against City, the most any player has scored against teams managed by Guardiola. He has struck up an excellent understanding with Darwin Núñez, with the duo creating more chances (19) and recording more assists (five) for each other than any other pairing in the Premier League this season. All nine of Núñez’s Liverpool assists since the start of last season have been for Salah.
Núñez is competing with the fit-again Cody Gakpo and Luis Díaz – who scored twice in Colombia’s win over Brazil last week – for a starting spot. Behind Liverpool’s fearsome attack, Dominik Szoboszlai has been a revelation since arriving from RB Leipzig, with his 28 chances created in the Premier League this term only bettered by Kieran Trippier (33), Bruno Fernandes (32) and James Maddison (31).
Alexis Mac Allister should return to Liverpool’s lineup after serving a one-match suspension, while Ryan Gravenberch is expected to be fit after suffering a minor knee injury. The Dutch midfielder was back in training on Thursday along with Curtis Jones, Ibrahima Konaté and Joe Gomez. Despite the return of the latter two, in-form Joël Matip could keep his place alongside Virgil van Dijk in central defence, while Kostas Tsimikas will likely start at left-back with the ever-reliable Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right side.
Manchester City vs Liverpool Head-to-Head
The results of Man City’s meetings with Liverpool have been almost perfectly split since Guardiola followed Klopp to England in 2016. City have won five of 14 Premier League games against the Reds under Guardiola, drawing five and losing four.
Liverpool have struggled at the Etihad Stadium, though, only winning one of their last 14 away league games against City (D5 L8). That 4-1 victory came on Klopp’s first trip there in November 2015.
The teams’ last meeting came on this ground in April as City took a vital step towards retaining the title with a 4-1 win, with Julián Álvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, İlkay Gündoğan and Jack Grealish scoring after Salah had put Liverpool ahead.
Manchester City are now looking to win consecutive league games against Liverpool for the first time since enjoying a run of four victories between 1935 and 1937.
Overall, the teams managed two wins apiece in four head-to-head meetings in 2022-23. Liverpool overcame City 3-1 in the FA Community Shield last July before winning 1-0 in the Premier League at Anfield in October, while City won an EFL Cup thriller by a 3-2 scoreline in December.
City are targeting a share of history on Saturday, having won their last 23 home games in all competitions.
Another victory would see them match the record run by an English top-flight club, with Sunderland winning 24 straight between December 1890 and April 1892, including a replayed FA Cup win over Notts County.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have only lost one of their last 23 league games (W15 D7), going down 2-1 to Tottenham when reduced to nine men in September.
However, the Reds are winless in three Premier League away trips, being held by Brighton and Hove Albion (2-2) and Luton Town (1-1) since that controversial defeat. Klopp’s team are also without a clean sheet in seven away Premier League games, a run which stretches back to last season.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Manchester City vs Liverpool Prediction
While games between Manchester City and Liverpool are usually close-run things, the Opta supercomputer is siding with the champions for this one.
Of 10,000 match simulations conducted ahead of kick-off, Man City won 51.5% of them. That is the highest win probability given to any team ahead of Matchday 13’s fixtures.
Liverpool are given a 22.5% chance of a win which would put them top of the league table, with the likelihood of a draw standing at 26%.
In the supercomputer’s season predictions, City are given an 83.9% chance of retaining their title, with Liverpool (9.3%) viewed as their most likely challengers ahead of Arsenal (6.1%). No other club is given more than a 0.3% chance of topping the pile.