Best odds *
Man City: 7/5
* At time of publication
Liverpool: 54 points, +39 goal difference
Manchester City: 50 points, +39 goal difference
Liverpool: Champions League
Manchester City: Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup
Liverpool: 9 at home, 8 away
Manchester City: 8 at home, 9 away
Liverpool: 7 top-half teams, 10 bottom-half teams
Manchester City: 8 top-half teams, 9 bottom-half teams
Big-six teams to play
Liverpool: Manchester United (a), Tottenham (h), Chelsea (h)
Man City: Arsenal (h), Chelsea (h), Manchester United (a), Tottenham (h)
Who to back?
It’s understandable that Liverpool are favourites to end a 29-year wait to become English champions. They boast a four-point cushion with 17 rounds remaining. They only dropped six points in the opening 20 rounds, while City have dropped nine in their last six outings.
Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp will soon have Joe Gomez and Joel Matip back at his disposal, while elimination from the two domestic cups means Liverpool have fewer matches than City to burden them.
Hang fire, however, on putting a few quid on The Reds. The Stats Zone feels the tide is about to turn. Here’s why…
Should Liverpool lose Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino or Mohamed Salah to injury, it would consequentially harm them. By bold contrast, seemingly everybody has a different view on what City’s best XI is.
Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and David Silva are the three City attacking midfielders to have played the most minutes this season, while Sergio Aguero seems to have made the striker’s spot his own. Leroy Sane, club-record signing Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus, are excellent good back-ups to call upon.
Kevin De Bruyne, seen by many as City’s best player, is ready to start playing regularly following an injury-ravaged first half of the campaign, while the brilliant Bernard Mendy is expected to be back in early February.
A bye versus Bayern
A Schalke side 13th out of 18 in the Bundesliga is an effective bye into the Champions League quarter-finals for City. Liverpool, worryingly, have to face Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Leon Goretzka, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Robert Lewandowski and a Bayern Munich outfit that has reached the semi-finals in five of the past six seasons (they lost to Real Madrid in the quarters in 2016-17). These two fixtures smile on City’s Premier League crown chances.
That extra half-point (goal difference)
Liverpool and Manchester City may be level on goal difference, but expect the latter to cruise home victors in this department.
Salah has played the full 90 in each of Liverpool’s last six Premier League games, but as the season wears on and injury risk heightens, Klopp will probably begin limiting his go-to guy’s minutes. Clock-capping will also befall Mane and Firmino, and Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are simply not capable enough deputies in a title-aspiring team.
City are masters at pummelling opponents in the last 25 minutes of matches. Who would fancy, after a gruelling hour-plus against City, having the likes of Sane, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Jesus and Aguero unleashed upon them?
Expect Liverpool to start slipping up in matches you wouldn’t foresee, while away clashes with fierce enemies Everton and Manchester United are potential banana skins.
City, meanwhile, are set to go on a tear. Arsenal are unlikely to take points off them in Gameweek 25, and the same goes for Chelsea in Gameweek 26. Manchester United away will be the big test, but City should seize enough points elsewhere to defend their title.