Life after Coutinho. Liverpool host Man City hoping their leading talisman can cause City problems.
Coutinho may have jetted off to Barcelona, but the Reds have plenty of other attacking options and it’s often been their rearguard that has given cause for concern. This was evident in the last game between these two, with Liverpool’s backline crumbling after Saido Mane’s red card in a 5-0 defeat, but with new signing Virgil van Dijk looking the part on his debut they should prosper better this time around.
Indeed, Liverpool are currently on a 17 game unbeaten run (W12-D5) across all competitions, though notably the stalemates generally came against the better teams they’ve faced during this period. Klopp’s side are only W1-D3-L2 against the rest of the ‘Big Six’ this term, while at Anfield they’re W5-D7-L1 in such fixtures since the German took charge. Given how City have stuttered on the road in recent weeks at Palace and in the Carabao Cup, where Leicester took them to penalties, we’re backing the draw.
Whilst Liverpool have only conceded three goals in eight matches hosting top-six sides since the start of last season we still expect this rampant City side to find the net, even with the signing of van Dijk. The Citizens have netted 16 in their last six while Liverpool are in fine scoring form themselves, reaching that same number in their last five outings. These are the two highest-scoring teams in the division, and indeed six of the last 11 league meetings between these two have seen Over 3.5 Goals.
Recently crowned African footballer of the year Mohamed Salah has been on fire this season, and after missing the FA Cup clash with Everton with a slight groin strain should return to the starting line-up here. He’s already bagged himself 23 goals across all competitions, and has proven himself to be no flat-track bully,with strikes against Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Sevilla. He’s netted 12 in his last 11 league appearances, scoring the opener in four of these.