It wasn't meant to be this way for Pep Guardiola.
The boss who swept all before him at Barcelona and Bayern Munich was expected to do the same as Manchester City manager – and after winning his first 10 matches in charge, it looked like he was going to.
Fast-forward to now, with City 10 points off the top of the Premier League, and with Guardiola knocked out at the Champions League last-16 stage for the first time, things aren’t quite as rosy.
The effects of Wednesday’s defeat to Monaco remains to be seen, but judging by the dejection of City’s players after that away goals elimination, it could be lasting.
Hoping to exploit that disappointment is Liverpool, who they face at the Etihad on Sunday.
When Jurgen Klopp’s men beat City 1-0 on New Year’s Eve, it appeared to mark their title-winning credentials.
The Reds then only won one of their next seven in the league to themselves drop out of the reckoning – though recent wins over Tottenham and Arsenal mean they are unbeaten against the top six all season.
Against a shaken City team, at a ground where they won 4-1 last term, I think they can repeat the trick this weekend.
A Liverpool win (draw no bet) is 7/4 with 188BET.
There should be goals – that 1-0 result earlier in the season was the first time in nine league meetings there were less than three goals.
City let in six goals over two legs against Monaco, and their defence has been shaky all season.
While Guardiola’s commitment to attacking is admirable, his midfield selections have often bordered on the negligent – Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva simply aren’t defensively minded enough, leaving Fernandinho with too much to do alone to protect the muddled back four.
With both sides likely to throw caution to the wind, I suggest buying total goals at 3.15 with Sporting Index.
Liverpool (draw no bet) – 7/4 (188BET)
Buy total goals – 3.15 (Sporting Index)