Manchester City v Liverpool - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

Manchester City Etihad

These two sides played out two pulsating Premier League matches last season as they went toe-to-toe in the title race. City are hoping to hold on to their crown, whilst Liverpool are looking to go one better this season. Both sides will be hoping to strike an early blow in the title race.

To be played on Monday 25th August 2014 at 20:00. Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Odds: Manchester City 11/13, Draw 3/1, Liverpool 10/3

Last season: 2-1

Preview & injury news

Both sides got off to winning starts in difficult encounters but their quality ended up shining through. Manchester City came up with a 2-0 win against Newcastle United, whilst Liverpool dug out a 2-1 win at home against Southampton.

City's home record was one of the main reasons they lifted their second Premier League crown in three years having only dropped five points at the Etihad Stadium en route to the title, so Liverpool will be buoyed if they can come away with something to show for their efforts.

The talk in Liverpool this week has been mostly about their attempts to sign former City striker Mario Balotelli, but he won't be signed in time to feature against his former club.

Manchester City rested a couple of their World Cup stars for the trip to Newcastle. Sergio Aguero was used for the bench - and scored late on in the win in the North East, whilst Gael Clichy played at right-back instead of Pablo Zabaleta. Their only absentee appears to be forward Alvaro Negredo, who has a fractured metatarsal.

Liverpool will be hoping they can field two more of their new signings after handing debuts to three of them against Southampton. Left-back Alberto Moreno will be available and if he starts it will mean manager Brendan Rodgers has a decision to make when it comes to selecting either the youthful Javier Manquillo, or the more experienced Glen Johnson at right-back.

Lazar Markovic could be available after a hamstring injury but the Reds are still likely to be without Adam Lallana until next month. Daniel Agger has a knee problem with no timescale put on his recovery as of yet, whilst Jon Flanagan has a similar injury and still misses out.

Key stats

  Possession PercentageTotal Scoring AttSavesPlayed
Liverpool 56.00 12 5 1
Manchester City 55.00 13 0 1

Liverpool faced a side that seemed to carry more of a threat with Simon Mignolet having to make five saves against Southampton, whilst Manchester City faced a Newcastle side that couldn't register a shot on target on the opening day. Both sides enjoyed the Lions' share of possession on the opening day of the season and carried a significant threat going forward. Given the way the sides were equally matched in their opening encounter against their respective opponents going forward, it has the makings of a fascinating contest.

5 players to watch

Edin Dzeko - Dzeko seems to be in terrific form for City and is likely to start the game up front. His touch in the build up to David Silva's opener against Newcastle showed his game isn't just about scoring goals, and is able to bring other players into the game with ease. He is likely to be a handful for the Liverpool defence.

Lazar Markovic - Yet to make his debut, but Markovic is a very quick winger who can trouble the best full-backs in the business, and it will be interesting to see if Brendan Rodgers uses the 20-year-old against the champions. If he does, can Markovic make an immediate impact for Liverpool?

Fernando - The defensive midfielder did his job effectively against Newcastle United and against a side like Liverpool, who like to be creative and break quickly, he is going to need be even more effective in the middle of the park. Can he keep on top of proceedings?

Emre Can - Another player who could be in line for his Liverpool debut. The combination of Steven Gerrard and Lucas against Southampton looked uncertain, and Rodgers may opt for a bit more power in the middle of the park as a result. This game is likely to be a fierce battle in midfield and just the kind of game Can will relish.

Gael Clichy - It will be interesting to see which side of the field he'll play from. He's been filling in at right-back as Manuel Pellegrini has been keen to give Pablo Zabaleta a rest, but did Clichy impress enough to keep his place in the side on either the right or left flank?

Last time they met

Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City - Premier League, April 2014

It was billed as the game to potentially decide the Premier League title and a Liverpool victory put it in their own hands with four games to go. The home side started quickly as Raheem Sterling showed terrific composure early on to beat Joe Hart to give Liverpool the lead, which was doubled after City failed to mark properly from a second consecutive corner, allowing Martin Skrtel to get on the scoresheet. City threatened but Liverpool saw the half out, but the introduction of James Milner gave them fresh impetus after the break. He was immediately involved as his cross was turned in by David Silva, and Silva had a hand in levelling the scores up as his run, then cross resulted in a Glen Johnson own goal. Liverpool lost Daniel Sturridge to injury, but it didn't stop them grabbing the winner through Philippe Coutinho after a scuffed clearance from Vincent Kompany. As City pushed for another equaliser, Jordan Henderson was given his marching orders for a wild lunge, a huge cost to Liverpool.

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