Betting: Man City face Anfield test as they chase down the invincibles

 
Ben Cleminson
Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League
Manchester City put five past Liverpool in a rout earlier in the season (Source: Getty)

Can anybody stop Manchester City?

In 33 games in all competitions this term, the only side to beat Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering City were Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League dead rubber.

Their Premier League record reads played 22, won 20. They currently sit an incredible 15 points clear.

With their name already effectively engraved on the trophy, the question now turns to whether they can replicate Arsenal’s 2003/04 unbeaten league season.

Given the ruthless way they have swept all before them, there’ll be a few of that invincibles squad feeling slightly worried.

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One of their biggest obstacles to doing so comes on Sunday, as they travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.

The Reds are on an unbeaten run of their own, avoiding defeat in their last 17 games, and sit in fourth.

In a usual season they would be in the title shake-up (their 44 points at this stage would have put them top in 2015/16), but given City’s dominance, they are having to settle for a position amongst the also-rans in the race for the Champions League spots.

That task will have become a lot harder after wantaway Philippe Coutinho finally forced through his move to Barcelona.

Given the attacking flair of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, there’ll be plenty of Liverpool fans claiming Coutinho won’t be missed, but the departure of the Reds’ star player is sure to make an impact on the side.

How Jurgen Klopp spends the £142 million could make or break Liverpool’s season – and given previous January transfer dealings, Reds supporters will hope any arrivals are more Luis Suarez than Andy Carroll.

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Coutinho or not, Liverpool have a great recent record against City at Anfield, winning their last four meetings on Merseyside, and going undefeated since 2003.

Gini Wijnaldum got the only goal in this fixture last season, but even just over a year on, this seems a very different City side.

That was highlighted by the thumping 5-0 victory over the Reds when these two met at the Etihad earlier this season – a result that sent shockwaves through the rest of the league.

While Klopp can argue that the first-half red card to Sadio Mane changed the game, City were ruthless in dispatching their opposition.

If anything, the margin of victory flattered Liverpool – such was the dominance City had, it could have been more.

That result levelled up the head-to-head between Klopp and Guardiola, sparring partners from their time in Germany, who both have five wins apiece (and a draw) from their 11 meetings.

The pair enjoyed a healthy rivalry as bosses of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, which took in the 2013 Champions League final, and has continued in England, adding an extra sub-plot as two of the Premier League’s biggest sides meet.

While City have been irresistible at times this season, this is a strong Liverpool side – strengthened by the addition of Virgil van Dijk in defence.

I don’t think Liverpool will be the first English team to beat Guardiola’s charges this season – but given City’s poor record at Anfield, I can’t see them winning either.

Instead, I fancy the points to be shared – and with the attacking output on both sides, I think we could see a thriller.

Take a punt on a 2-2 draw at 11/1 with 188BET.

Pointers

2-2 draw - 11/1 (188BET)

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