Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview: This Game Still Means Something

Posted By Chops on June 30, 2020

Who: Manchester City vs Liverpool
When: Thursday, July 2nd @ 3:15pm ET
LineMan City +105 | Draw +285 | Liverpool +230

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Liverpool won the Premier League last Thursday after two-time champs, FFP violating Manchester City, lost to Chelsea.

The Reds had their most dominating performance of the season last week, keeping Crystal Palace entirely out of their penalty box for 90 minutes en route to a 4-0 thrashing.

City lost for the 8th time of the domestic season.

Now, the two best teams in England squad off at the Etihad where the empty stadium will only be slightly more lifeless and listless than any other home match.

Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview

Pep Guardiola has already said City will graciously present the Guard of Honour to Liverpool–a class act. And while City have nothing to play for since they’re banned from UEFA competitions for two years and are further behind in 2nd place after 31 games than any team in top flight history, don’t think this game doesn’t matter to them.

Same for Liverpool.

After their joyous celebration last Thursday, the Reds have been training as usual at Melwood. They have a full week to recover and prepare.

City have fewer days off, having won a FA Cup quarterfinal match against Newcastle on Sunday. But they’re deep and they’ll be plenty sharp.

When these teams played in November at Anfield, Liverpool pounded THE FOURMIDABLES 3-1. That match included a Fabinho laser shot similar to the rocket he fired against Palace last week.

However, the underlying numbers suggested it was a closer match.

City actually had a slight xG edge (1.48 to 1.33). They also outshot Liverpool (18 with 3 on target to Liverpool’s 12 / 5). Still, the eyeball test didn’t match the data on this. Liverpool were the better the squad.

Expect a similar tight affair here.

In November, City were without their top defender Aymeric Laporte. He’s back, fit and ready. However, City are without their top goal scorer Sergio Aguero (meniscus tear). Liverpool are mostly healthy, save for James Milner and Joel Matip.

With that in mind, expect Klopp to roll out his preferred midfield of Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho, and Jordan Henderson. Their workman approach is particularly disruptive to City’s attack.

This will limit quality opportunities for City. Yes, Premier League assist leader Kevin de Bruyne will weave a perfectly weighted through-ball to a charging Raheem Sterling or Riyad Mahrez, once or twice. But for City to win, they need to be on point with their finishing and convert every chance.

For Liverpool, Mo Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold will lead the attack on the right flank. Any Liverpool goal will likely involve one of those two.

Andy Robertson always brings his A-game vs City. He embodies the Liverpool approach against City. This game will be chippy. Expect Liverpool to be physical and foul often. Just like in November, they’ll press and force City to make costly turnovers in dangerous spots.

Klopp has a formula against Pep that works. He’s not going off-script here.

Prediction

Because these teams don’t have anything to play for, they’re free to let loose. Expect an open and thrilling match. Liverpool holds on late for a 2-1 win.

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Chops

Chops is the executive producer of High Press Soccer. He's an unabashed Liverpool fan who will absolutely let that bias seep into his reporting and analysis.

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