Manchester City’s visit to Anfield on New Year’s Eve provides a fittingly exciting finale for the Premier League in 2016.
The clash between these title contenders will close out a year which has seen 5000/1 shots Leicester City lift the title, Manchester United smash the transfer record to bring Paul Pogba home for a cool £89m, and Sunderland pull off yet another great escape.
But it’s likely that Liverpool will be the ones feeling more cheery about the coming year of football after this crucial clash. Here’s why we’re tipping the Reds for victory over Pep Guardiola’s men…
Liverpool’s midfield is clicking
For starters, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum have all chalked up at least four assists for the Reds this season, while wing wizard Sadio Mane has scored eight and set-up five. Not bad – but it’s as a unit where Jurgen Klopp’s men are really excelling in the middle.
With an 84 per cent pass completion rate in the league this season, they’re arguably unmatched in their ability to play slick and purposeful passing football. And the Reds certainly dominate the ball on their own patch – recording over 60 per cent possession in six of their eight home Prem games so far this campaign.
That ability to dictate the tempo of the game and create openings goes a long way to explaining how they’ve taken an astonishing 20 points from those eight home games. And that could have City fans worried, because…
The visitors’ defence can be exploited
While they have managed shutouts against Hull City and Watford of late, the Sky Blues can only actually boast three clean sheets from their last 20 games in all competitions.
With a mixture of ageing and sluggish campaigners like Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy, there’s a real likelihood they’ll be caught cold on the counter-attack by a side possessing the electric pace and clinical finishing of players like Mane and Roberto Firmino.
The visitors are also without talismanic leader Vincent Kompany, with the Belgian once again sidelined by injury – and they’re a less organised unit without him.
Having already shipped four goals away at Leicester City this season, and conceded against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace and Swansea City, the Merseysiders could well have a field day against the Blues’ susceptible backline.
History points to a Reds’ victory
The last 14 league meetings between this pair at Anfield have produced nine Liverpool wins and four draws.
With the last clash between the sides a resounding 3-0 victory for the Reds back in March, and Jurgen Klopp’s men enjoying a fantastic run on their own patch, it seems unlikely City can end their 13-year wait for a Premier League win on the red half of Merseyside.
In the match betting, Liverpool look generously priced for victory at 13/10, with the Citizens 2/1 for victory and 13/5 on offer for the draw.
Meanwhile, Adam Lallana – who scored the opener when these two last met – has already chalked up 11 Premier League goals in 2016, and is well worth backing to score anytime here at 13/5.
And for those looking to find a good bet at sizeable odds, get your money on the 14/1 for Liverpool to win by 3 goals – something we’ve seen happen twice in this fixture during since late 2015.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing