While the first week of October is too early for a game to be billed as title defining or deciding, there’s no doubt Liverpool verses Manchester City is the biggest match of the 2018/19 season so far.
The Premier League’s top two clash at Anfield on Sunday, looking to go into the international break as the outright leader of the division. Both have dropped just two points so far, and look in imperious form in the league at least.
Whatever the result, the odds for the teams to be champions will no doubt shift a little. Royal Panda currently have the best available price for City, and even they only offer 3/4. They have Liverpool at 2/1 and it will be interesting to see how this shifts at full time if the Reds prevail.
The history books suggest they will, as the Citizens have an abysmal record at Anfield. Since winning in May 2003, City have drawn five and lost 12 of the 17 Merseyside meetings. That includes being beaten in their last six visits in a row, but surely a team as good as them have to win at Liverpool again before long? After all, only three of those 12 defeats have been by more than a single goal, so the games are usually close even if City don’t win them.
The bookmakers aren’t convinced City will win this week though. Bet Hard price Liverpool at 31/20 to take the three points, with City at 7/4 and the draw 51/20. It’s such a difficult match to call, and when that’s the case I tend to think ‘draw’.
And such a prediction is not without its merits, as Liverpool were unbeaten in the last two seasons against other teams from the big six at home, and have also drawn the most league games among the big boys in that period too.
It’s not easy to decide where to bet in the total goals market either. In the two seasons since Pep Guardiola took charge of City, the league results between these two clubs have been somewhat contrasting; 1-0 and 1-1 in 2016/17, but then 5-0 and 4-3 last season.
However, add in the Champions League quarter-final from April, and all four meetings in 2017/18 featured at least three goals.
During Pep’s period in charge, City lead both the Premier League and the big six mini-league for games where at least three goals were scored, so a bet on over 2.5 goals would appear to be the way to go.
Karamba have priced that outcome at 20/31, or the same firm offers 13/10 if you think there will be under 2.5 goals. But as there have been at least three goals in five of the last six meetings at Anfield, I’ll be betting on there being a few goals on Sunday.
That’s not to say both teams will definitely score though. City have only found the Anfield net in one of their last four visits – in January this year – and Liverpool have upgraded their goalkeeper and centre-back options considerably since then.
The formbook suggests both teams will score, however, as Liverpool top the big six mini-league for games where this has happened since August 2016. It has happened 15 times in their 22 matches, and City aren’t too far behind on 13. Both teams to score is available at 10/19 with Mansion Bet.
For scorer bets, it’s seems too obvious to say Mohamed Salah, but his relatively poor run will end soon enough, and he loves playing against Guardiola’s gang. The Egyptian king has scored in all three meetings of the teams in 2018, and assisted a further two goals for good measure.
Salah may have only scored three league goals in 2018/19, but he leads the Premier League for expected goals with a tally of 5.74. There’s undoubtedly goals around the corner for Liverpool’s talisman, and you can get odds of 17/4 that he scores first with 888 Sport, or they offer 11/8 for him to find the net at some point.
A player who is due a goal in another way is Sergio Aguero. City’s record scorer is performing in line with his expected goal stats this season, but his record at Anfield is bafflingly poor. Aguero has played at Liverpool nine times but has yet to score and has only mustered 11 shots across those games when he traditionally averages around five for every 90 minutes he plays.
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