Dec 25, 2013, 11:55 AM EDT
- Six of the last nine PL meetings have been draws
- City haven’t scored in their last two Boxing Day matches
- Liverpool has only won one of their last five away games
On Boxing Day we have a real cracker for you to enjoy at the Etihad Stadium as Man City host Liverpool (watch live on NBCSN, 12:30pm ET and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) with both teams harboring serious title aspirations.
Liverpool sit joint-top of the Premier League at Christmas, and are just one point above third-placed City going into this massive clash in the North West. The home side must be the favorites in this one, as City have won eight out of eight at the Etihad and smashed home 35 goals in the process.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have never been shy of scoring and will see this game as the perfect opportunity to get announce themselves as title favorites. That’s if last weeks 6-3 hammering of Arsenal didn’t already do that. As for Brendan Rodgers, his side have been sublime with one man leading the way, as Luis Suarez has scored 19 goals in his 12 PL games this season. Remarkable.
If City want to win, they’ll have to stop Liverpool’s Uruguayan superstar and make sure they still keep an eye on the Reds other sublime attacking talents. As we mentioned, both teams are full of goals and lead the PL in scoring with City racking up 51 goals and Liverpool not far behind with 41.
A win for the Citizens could see them potentially in top spot on Boxing Day, as their large squad will be tested to its limits over the festive period. As for injuries, City are still missing top scorer Sergio Aguero and defenders Matija Nastasic, Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards.
What they’re saying
Brendan Rodgers on City’s good home form: “We know it’s a tough place to go this year. Manchester City haven’t lost at home and we’ve won every game at home bar one, so they obviously have confidence at home like us. They score goals, but they also concede goals so it makes for a really good game. Our focus is on this game and this game only, and we know our possession level is really high at the moment, so we’re looking forward to it.”
James Milner on stopping Suarez: “He is having a pretty good season. He’s a dangerous player. We have come up against dangerous players so far this season but he will definitely be right up there, so we will need to keep him quiet. But Liverpool are a top side having a good season and it’s not just about stopping him, because they have plenty of other players who can do damage as well.”
Everyone is predicting goals, but I think both sides ultra-attacking emphasis could actually cancel each other out. This will be a nervy game, as City don’t want to lose their incredible home record and Liverpool have struggled on the road a little. But if that man Suarez scores a few early, expect a rampant City to come roaring back with all guns blazing. I’m sitting on the fence and going for a draw.
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