With Pep Guardiola’s men looking uncharacteristically blunt in front of goal, Al Hain-Cole is backing the Reds to nullify them in a tight encounter
After crashing out of the Champions League against Monaco in midweek, Manchester City will return their attention to the Premier League when Liverpool visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
One point clear of their guests with a game in hand, Pep Guardiola’s third-placed side are priced at 19/20 (1.95) with Paddy Power to tighten their grip on automatic Champions League qualification by coming out on top here.
However, the Reds have won each of the last five meetings between the teams, and are available at 14/5 (3.80) to move above City in the table by making it six in a row in this one.
The hosts were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City last time out, and there are odds of 27/10 (3.70) on offer on them being forced to settle for a single point yet again this time out.
While the defence obviously came in for plenty of blame after Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat at the Stade Louis II, Guardiola was left bemoaning the number of chances missed by his attacking players.
Having scored just five goals in their last four matches, the Citizens’ relative loss of cutting edge seems ill-timed for a game against an opponent that has frustrated them on repeated occasions recently.
With their energetic high press serving to stem City’s attacking flow, Jurgen Klopp’s team have restricted them to just two goals in four encounters since he took over as Brendan Rodgers’ replacement.
Considering the high stakes at play in this crucial top four clash, a tight game similar to Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Anfield in December’s reverse encounter seems inevitable.
With this in mind, odds of 5/4 (2.25) could prove excellent value on under 2.5 goals being scored for the guests’ fifth game in six on the road, and the home team’s third league match in a row at this ground.