One last dance for Jürgen Klopp against Pep Guardiola? The Premier League title race is wide open as we look ahead to Liverpool vs Manchester City with our prediction and preview.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Stats: Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer struggled to split these two sides, with Liverpool winning 33.3% of pre-match simulations and Manchester City triumphing in 38.6%.
  • Just two of the last 30 Premier League matches between Liverpool and Man City have been won by the away side.
  • Phil Foden has been directly involved in 18 Premier League goals this season (11 goals, 7 assists), his most in a single campaign.

Match Preview

Having announced his intention to leave at the end of the season, Jürgen Klopp will face old foe Pep Guardiola for one final Premier League clash. As has been the case in recent years, Sunday’s Anfield meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City will have a large say on whether Klopp departs Merseyside with another top-flight title – or if Guardiola’s trophy-winning machine powers on.

After Arsenal’s late 2-1 win over Brentford on Saturday, Mikel Arteta’s side leapfrogged both of their title rivals to go top of the Premier League table. Liverpool head into this game just one point clear of third-place City in second, having lost only twice all season to Tottenham and Arsenal. Klopp’s men required a late, late show on Matchday 27, though, as Darwin Núñez headed home Alexis Mac Allister’s looping cross to beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 with a 99th-minute winner.

Núñez’s goal, timed at 98 minutes and 37 seconds, was Liverpool’s latest winning goal in a Premier League game that Opta has on record (since 2006-07). The Reds have scored 10 top-flight goals in the 90th minute of matches this season, their joint-most in a single campaign (also 10 in 2008-09), and their most recent at the City Ground even had Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis at the side of the pitch at full-time.

The hosts questioned referee Paul Tierney allowing Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher to restart with an uncontested drop ball after Ibrahima Konaté had gone down due to an apparent head injury in the 96th minute when Callum Hudson-Odoi had been in possession.

Núñez came off the bench to provide another substitute hero for Klopp. Substitutes have been involved in 22 Premier League goals for Liverpool this season (11 goals, 11 assists) – only Man City in 2011-12 (24) and Arsenal in 2009-10 (23) have had more goal involvements from subs in a single season in the competition.

As for team news, the Anfield clash will come too soon for long-term absentees Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota, Joël Matip, Thiago Alcântara, Curtis Jones, Ryan Gravenberch and Stefan Bajcetic, though Klopp will hope to be able to start talismanic winger Mohamed Salah on Sunday.

Despite their injury woes, Liverpool have responded well to a 3-1 loss at Arsenal last month, beating Burnley, Brentford, Luton Town and Forest in the league, while winning the EFL Cup final against Chelsea and beating Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round.

Their 5-1 win away at Sparta Prague in the UEFA Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday saw the return of Salah from the bench, a game in which Núñez scored Liverpool’s 1,000th goal under Klopp. Konaté came off with what appeared to be a muscle problem early in the second half, and his manager suggested after the game that while the French centre-back’s substitution was precautionary, he will have to be assessed ahead of the weekend.

Salah’s return will be a huge boost given the Egyptian winger has been directly involved in 17 goals in 19 appearances for Liverpool against Man City in all competitions, scoring 11 and assisting six. It’s his highest number of goal involvements against any opponent for Klopp’s men, while his 11 goals are the most any player has scored against sides managed by Guardiola in the Spaniard’s top-flight managerial career. Captain Virgil van Dijk was rested in Prague and will surely come back into the starting lineup.

City required a late comeback on MD27 against fierce rivals Manchester United, who stunned the Etihad Stadium with Marcus Rashford’s rocketed early opener before Erling Haaland produced one of the misses of the season on the stroke on half-time. Phil Foden rescued Guardiola’s men, though, with his second-half double before Haaland atoned with a late finish in a 3-1 win.

With the derby-day brace, Foden has been directly involved in 18 Premier League goals this season (11 goals, seven assists), his most in a single campaign for his boyhood club. The England midfielder also ranks in the top five for chances created in open play (50), shots attempted (83) and shots on target (34) in the competition this season.

phil foden xg goals map 2023-24

Guardiola has a near-perfect squad to choose from when selecting Sunday’s lineup, with Jack Grealish the only confirmed absentee after Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Copenhagen that secured a 6-2 aggregate victory and progression to the UEFA Champions League quarter-final stage. Manuel Akanji, Julián Álvarez and Haaland were all on target in that routine Etihad victory to warm-up for an enticing Anfield meeting. Matheus Nunes came off with a finger injury so could also be a doubt.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Head-to-Head

Liverpool have only lost one of their last 20 league games at Anfield against Man City (W13 D6), a 4-1 defeat in February 2021 with no fans in the stadium. However, home and away the Reds have enjoyed only one win in their last eight Premier League matches against the Manchester club (D4 L3), a 1-0 victory in this exact fixture at Anfield last season when Salah scored a 76th-minute winner.

Indeed, just two of the last 30 Premier League matches between these two title contenders have been won by the away side (16 home wins, 12 draws). Of the 54 fixtures to have been played at least 40 times in the competition, this game boasts the lowest proportion won by the away team (11% – 6/53).

Klopp and Guardiola’s respective sides can barely even be split for points gained from losing positions this league campaign. Liverpool have managed 22 from such scenarios, one more than City (21).

However, the side scoring first has only lost one of the last 19 league meetings between the two clubs (W13 D5 – excluding 0-0 draws), with that being the Reds’ 4-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium last season. In the most recent fixture, Alexander-Arnold cancelled out Haaland’s opener in a 1-1 draw.

man city 1-1- liverpool xg race

Recent Form

Since the aforementioned 4-1 defeat against Man City at the Etihad last season, Liverpool have won more points (88), scored more goals (91) and lost fewer games (two) than any other Premier League side, while also keeping the joint-most clean sheets (13).

Yet the dominant City have won their last nine away matches in all competitions, scoring 25 goals across that run. There have only been six previous instances of a top-flight side winning 10+ away games in a row, and two of those have been Guardiola’s side (11 between May and November 2017 and 20 between December 2020 and May 2021).

City are also the only team yet to concede a Premier League goal when they’ve been losing in matches this season, scoring 10 goals while trailing – displaying a remarkable ability to fight back: a champions’ mentality.

The reigning English champions have also had 75 more shots than their opponents when losing (99 for, 24 faced), the best differential of any team when behind, despite the fact they’ve trailed for the lowest percentage of Premier League minutes this season (13%).

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.

Liverpool vs Manchester City Prediction

Liverpool vs Manchester City Prediction

The Opta supercomputer gives the edge to the defending champions for Sunday’s clash, with Liverpool winning 33.3% of 10,000 pre-match simulations, compared to Man City succeeding in 38.6% at Anfield.

A draw may encourage new leaders Arsenal in the wide-open Premier League title race, with that result forecast in 28.1% of the data-led scenarios, though neither side will want that in their quest for the top-flight trophy.

Ahead of the weekend’s action we asked the supercomputer to look at the title race. Pep Guardiola’s side still defended their Premier League title in 51.5% of Opta’s end-of-season simulations, with Liverpool ranking as second favourites at 34.5%, and Arsenal close behind with their league-winning likelihood rated as 14.0%. Those percentages will change by the end of Sunday, though, as we looked at prior to Matchday 28.

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