Manchester City host Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday in a 4:30pm kick-off at the Etihad Stadium.
These two sides have dominated England’s top flight between them in the last three seasons, with a thrilling title race in 2018/19 seeing City win the title by a single point on the last day of the season.
Neither team looked quite as assured in the opening weeks of this season, with City rocked by a 5-2 home defeat to Leicester and Liverpool by the long-term injury of Virgil van Dijk, but there have been signs of improvement in recent weeks with nine wins in their last ten games combined.
There is simply no denying the significance of this fixture, with the hosts 17/20 favourites to win it. The draw is 16/5, with a Liverpool win 11/4.
City have won their last three league matches against Liverpool at the Etihad, but I certainly wouldn’t be backing them at odds-on.
Indeed, Liverpool have scored two or more in every league game so far this season, with City scoring in every match, too.
The hosts have kept two clean sheets to Liverpool’s one, and while it could be a cagey game at times, I really can’t see beyond both teams scoring here, so will add this to a Bet Builder as a starting point.
Something else which caught my eye is Man City’s card count in recent fixtures against Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s side are known for tactical fouling to prevent opposition counter-attacks, picking up nine yellow cards in six league games so far this season, and there’s arguably no side in the division better suited to quick transitions with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in attack.
Indeed, City have picked up two or more cards in each of their last nine fixtures against Jurgen Klopp’s side. With Craig Pawson one of the more reliable referees in terms of showing yellow cards officiating this clash, I’m happy to add Over 1 Card for Man City to our Bet Builder brings it above evens to 23/20:
Elsewhere, I’m heading to the shot markets at Sky Bet. They have another decent double up boost, with Kevin De Bruyne, Mane and Salah having 1+ shot on target each priced at 5/1.
Salah has managed this in all seven of his matches this season, with Mane testing the opposition goalkeeper in five of his six matches and De Bruyne three times in five.
With De Bruyne and Salah both on penalties if any are awarded, this is worth backing at the boosted price.
Mane has been all action this season and so much of Liverpool’s success (or lack thereof) on Sunday will hinge on their number ten’s performance.
Here are some of his stats (times it has landed / league appearances) this season coupled with the odds of it landing again against City:
3+ Shots: 5/6 – 15/8 (Sky Bet)
2+ tackles: 4/6 – Evens (Sky Bet)
Yellow card: 2/6 – 3/1 (bet365)
The Senegal forward also attempts more dribbles and draws more fouls than any Liverpool player, making odds of 6/5 on his likely direct opponent Kyle Walker making two or more tackles look a very good price. The England right-back is 7/2 (Unibet) to be carded, as he was for bringing Mane down in the last meeting.
I’m keen on City’s other full-back Joao Cancelo registering a high tackle count, too, with the Portugal international always keen to get stuck in and likely to be a prominent figure up against Salah.
He has made four or more tackles in two of his three starts this season, with 3+ priced at 8/11 and 4+ at 7/4.
Lastly, there are two City players in the cards market I’ll be keen to get on side: Rodri 5/2 (Betfair) and Raheem Sterling 11/2 (bet365).
The former will have plenty of work to do in midfield and has two yellow cards already this season, with Sterling always on the edge against his former club having left on acrimonious terms.