This New Year’s special round of midweek Premier League fixtures features a top of the league clash when Liverpool visit Man City at the Etihad, and to go with it, Best Free Bet Scout readers can claim enhanced odds with 888 Sport.
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Man City v Liverpool – 3 Jan 2019: Preview, predictions and betting tips
Kick-off: 8:00pm (GMT) Thursday 3 January 2019
Where to watch live on TV in the UK: Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Delph, Fernandinho, Silva, Bernado Silva, Sane, Sterling, Aguero
Liverpool: Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Milner, Salah, Mane, Firmino
All the pressure will be on Man City to pull back league leaders Liverpool with a win on Thursday night. Pep Guardiola’s side have had a rocky Christmas period losing at home to Crystal Palace in the run up to Christmas, and at Leicester on Boxing Day.
They reached a stalemate last time they faced each other earlier on in the season, but most importantly, City missed the chance to take the three points late on when Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty. He blazed over his spot kick in the 85th minute after Leroy Sane was brought down in the box. It may not have seemed so at such an early stage in the season, but that miss will be haunting Guardiola now that City sit 7 points behind the Reds.
City have led the way for the most part this season, putting in some dominant performances including a 6-1 drubbing of Southampton in November. Liverpool however, plugged away in the background, picking up points with some regularity, and most importantly avoid defeat in every game. The Reds have now won 17 of their 20 games so far, picking up just 3 draws.
Man City looked like their dominant selves at the weekend when they comfortably claimed victory over a rejuvenated Southampton under new boss Ralph Hasenhüttl. We believe much of this was down to the instrumental midfield duo David Silva and Fernandinho, returning to the starting line up following injury. These pair are key to the way City play. They work perfectly together, keeping the ball flowing through the midfield, and linking up the defence and attack.
Jurgen Klopp is trying to instill calmness in his players, telling them to look forward and not over their shoulders, now they currently stand six points clear at the top of the Premier League. Despite this, they will no doubt already be feeling the pressure, and will know inside that a point in this fixture will be a positive result for them.
We expect Liverpool to be most hesitant in going forward, and only take their opportunities on the counter attack, giving up possession to City. City will favour possession, and with freedom to chase the leaders now, we could see their play open up and perhaps see their forward three take more chances now that their elder statesmen are firmly back in the heart of midfield.
Thursday night will see a vastly different Man City to the players we saw fail at Leicester and Palace. You’ll see that most of the bookies agree also, with evens being the current best price on City.
We’re going with a narrow City victory, seeing City close the gap and set off a thrilling back end of this gripping Premier League 2018/19 season.
Best Free Bet Scout’s correct score prediction: 1-0 (Get 10/1 on a Man City win with 888 Sport)
* All odds correct as of 16:00 Weds 2 Ja 2019.