It’s going to take a flawless finish for Manchester City to win a third straight Premier League title — but no one knows the defending champions’ ability to run the slate better than Liverpool, their opponents in a huge Saturday showdown.
City signed off before the international break with 13 goals (eight for Erling Haaland) across lopsided wins over RB Leipzig and Burnley. Pep Guardiola’s men have won six in a row, prompting flashbacks to their 14 straight victories to pip Liverpool to the trophy in 2019, but they still trail leaders Arsenal by eight points, and could be without Haaland here.
Every point counts for the Reds too, with ground to make up to sneak into the Top 4. The visitors are stuck in sixth, and a woeful 1-0 loss at Bournemouth — on the heels of their 7-0 demolition of Manchester United — summed up Liverpool’s uneven season.
Find out more in our Man City vs Liverpool picks and predictions ahead of this star-studded matchup on Saturday, April 1.
Man City vs Liverpool best odds
Man City vs Liverpool picks and predictions
At another stage of another season, a draw might be a reasonable result for Manchester City in this type of heavyweight clash, but there’s real urgency to cut Arsenal’s lead to five points at the Premier League summit and put the Gunners under pressure.
As a result, I expect the hosts to treat this as a must-win game, kicking off a huge, decisive month, with a Champions League quarter-final ahead against Bayern Munich and a showdown with Arsenal in late April.
Guardiola has even more selection conundrums than usual ahead of this early Saturday fixture, with Haaland a fitness doubt and Phil Foden sidelined. Per Guardiola, Haaland is “in recovery” after picking up a groin injury against Burnley in the FA Cup, but City have no shortage of options to reshuffle their front three, with Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish and Julian Alvarez all available, and Kevin De Bruyne always a candidate for a more advanced role.
That makes it easier for me to trust City to come through on Saturday, with De Bruyne, Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan enjoying a creativity edge over whichever trio Jurgen Klopp picks in midfield. Where the hosts are slick and imaginative, the visitors just don’t have the same spark in the middle of the field.
Despite many familiar faces, Liverpool still look like a work in progress as they’re trying to acclimate Cody Gakpo and, to a lesser extent, Darwin Nunez on the fly. The numbers tell a compelling story — the Reds have picked up just 12 points from 13 away fixtures in the league this season, losing seven of those outings.
In what feels like one of the biggest games of the year, I see Guardiola’s men rising to the occasion, and I’m taking City to land a hard-fought win, pairing their moneyline with the Under on 3.5 total goals.
My best bet: Man City ML + Under 3.5 (+141 at FanDuel)
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Man City vs Liverpool side analysis
In-form Manchester City start as clear favorites on Saturday, with the expectation that they’ll pick up where they left off with their irresistible performances prior to the international break. It helps their case that they’re unbeaten since a Feb. 5 loss to Tottenham.
As I’ve laid out above, the hosts should have the talent edge against an erratic Liverpool side, but these two teams tend to serve up tight contests, as five of the last six meetings have either been decided by a one-goal margin or ended as a draw. This weekend’s clash could follow a similar script, especially if Haaland is limited or unavailable.
It’s also fair to wonder which version of this Liverpool team will show up at Etihad Stadium. The visitors failed to cash in on almost 70% of the possession at Bournemouth, along with Mo Salah’s penalty miss, but they’re only a few weeks removed from embarrassing Manchester United at Anfield in ruthless fashion.
I don’t see this being one-way traffic for City, though the Reds’ back line has looked suspect against top-tier attacks. Look no further than the humbling 5-2 loss at home to Real Madrid for evidence of the Reds’ defensive fragility, but a healthy Ibrahima Konate next to Virgil van Dijk should make a big difference.
Man City vs Liverpool Over/Under analysis
With so many attacking superstars sharing the same pitch, it’s easy to picture a goal-fest in Manchester this weekend, but I see the international break and the high stakes creating a tighter matchup here.
Though City ran riot in their last two games and put the result beyond doubt before halftime, these teams (and these managers) know each other so well that it’s hard to envision a wide-open, end-to-end type of contest.
I still like City’s chances of breaking through this Liverpool defense — but the visitors face an uphill battle at the other end. City have strung together five consecutive clean sheets, and they’re sure to send a sea of light blue jerseys at Salah, who remains the Reds’ biggest threat despite a sub-par season by his standards.
Their most recent meeting (in the Carabao Cup in late December) finished in a 3-2 win for City, but their league matchup in October — a 1-0 Liverpool victory — is perhaps a better guide in terms of total goals here.
Man City vs Liverpool game info
|Location:||Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England|
|Date:||Saturday, April 1, 2023|
|Time:||7:30 a.m. ET|
Man City vs Liverpool key injuries
Man City: Erling Haaland ST (Questionable), Phil Foden FWR (Out)
Liverpool: Darwin Nunez ST (Probable), Luiz Diaz FWR (Doubtful), Kostas Tsimikas LB (Doubtful), Thiago Alcantara CM (Out), Stefan Bajcetic CM (Out)
Man City vs Liverpool recent form
|Teams||Last five matches|
Man City vs Liverpool weather
The Saturday forecast calls for mild, cloudy conditions at Etihad Stadium, with temperatures in the high 40s and little chance of rain.