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    Liverpool vs. Manchester City Match Preview


    Liverpool and Manchester City will both be hoping to end 2016 on a high when they meet on New Year's Eve in one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season so far.

    The two in-form sides, who occupy second and third positions in the table respectively, are both chasing a fourth consecutive league win that would keep them in touch with leaders Chelsea at the top of the table.

    Saturday night's clash also sees old adversaries Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola go head-to-head for the first time in English football with Guardiola holding a slight advantage from eight previous meetings.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool have the chance to extend their lead over Manchester City to four points with a win on Saturday night and that could be enough to cut the gap on leaders Chelsea, who play Stoke City earlier in the day.

    The Reds have been in sparkling form over the festive period, beating Middlesbrough and Everton in the lead-up to Christmas, before most recently brushing aside Stoke 4-1 on Boxing Day to knock Saturday's opponents into third place.

    Liverpool recovered from a slow start, from which Jonathan Walters had given the visitors an early lead, but ran out comfortable winners with Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge all putting their names on the scoresheet.

    Sturridge's goal was the 100th that Liverpool have scored since Jurgen Klopp was appointed manager in October 2015 but, more importantly, it was the first time that the England international had netted a league goal since April 2016.

    Both Sturridge and Emre Can, who appeared as substitutes on Tuesday night, will be eager to be involved from the start on Saturday, although Philippe Coutinho is still not ready to return from the ankle injury he sustained in November.

    Liverpool's recent good run can be attributed not only to their excellent attacking play, which has seen them score 45 league goals this season, but to a defensive improvement that has occurred during the last eight games.

    The Reds have kept five clean sheets in that period, with Simon Mignolet looking an assured presence since taking over the number jersey from Lorius Karius and Ragnar Klavan impressing in central defence in the absence of Joel Matip.

    Manchester City

    City enjoyed a perfect start to the season under Pep Guardiola, who recorded 10 wins from his first 10 games in all competitions, but the club have endured a mixed bag of results since hitting those heights with only seven victories from the subsequent 18 games.

    The Sky Blues went three league games without a win from the start of October, while back-to-back defeats to Chelsea and Leicester allowed Antonio Conte's team to take a five point lead at the top of the table in mid-December.

    While City have not made any inroads into Chelsea's lead, they have won three consecutive games against Watford, Arsenal and Hull City and head into Saturday's clash with Liverpool in confident mood.

    That confidence will be increased with the return of Sergio Aguero, who served a four-game ban following his sending-off against Chelsea, while Fernandinho will also play after making his return from a three-match ban on Boxing Day.

    The club's chances of keeping only an eighth clean sheet of the season against the Premier League's top scorers will be boosted with the return to fitness of John Stones, who could start at Anfield despite being taken off with a knee injury against Hull.

    Guardiola has a winning record against his Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, with the two meeting on a regular basis when managers of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively, and the Spaniard leads the head-to-head with four wins and a draw from eight games.

    It is also an evenly-contested rivalry between Guardiola and Klopp's current sides, with Liverpool having a slight edge in recent meetings but City winning the League Cup final against the eight-time winners at Wembley on penalties.

    Liverpool Team News

    The main selection dilemma for Liverpool on Saturday will be whether to include Daniel Sturridge in the starting line-up following his first league goal in eight months or to instead keep faith with Divock Origi.

    Philippe Coutinho is expected to miss both the Manchester City clash on New Year's Eve and Monday's trip to Sunderland with the ankle injury he sustained against The Black Cats five weeks ago.

    Joel Matip is also set to miss out for a sixth time in the past seven matches with a similar injury, while Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic remains on the sidelines with a tendon problem.

    Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan are long-term absentees having both sustained knee injuries but Joe Gomez and Sheyi Ojo are on the comeback trail despite failing to appear for the Reds this season in a competitive game.

    Manchester City Team News

    Sergio Aguero is set to return from the four-game suspension he served after his red card in the home defeat to Chelsea, with Spanish international Nolito the most likely player to make way.

    John Stones could also play a part despite being forced off after only 18 minutes in the win over Hull with a knee problem, but captain Vincent Kompany is still two weeks away from recovering from a knee ligament injury.

    Leroy Sane (muscle) and Ilkay Gundogan (knee) are still not ready to return after sustaining injuries in the busy pre-christmas period, while Fabian Delph is recovering from an operation on his groin and has been on the sidelines since August.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool have won four of their last six matches against Manchester City but despite achieving the double against the Sky Blues last season, it was City who came out on top at Wembley in the final of the Capital One Cup.

    The most recent meeting between the two sides came just three days after that showpiece occasion, with Liverpool winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Adam Lallana, James Milner and Robert Firmino.

    The two teams have played 44 times in all competitions during the Premier League era, with The Reds coming out on top on 21 occasions compared to City's eight, although 15 matches have ended in draws.

    Jurgen Klopp's side also hold an advantage in terms of overall victories, with 100 wins to City's 53, while 51 of the 104 meetings in the head-to-head, first contested in 1893, have been drawn.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs. Manchester City Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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