Manchester City v Liverpool: Honours even between title rivals

Manchester City meet Liverpool on Super Sunday in what's being dubbed as an effective Premier League title decider. Mark O'Haire previews The Etihad encounter.

Man City break Atletico resistance

Kevin de Bruyne's second-half strike gave Manchester City a vital 1-0 victory as they overcame Atletico Madrid's typically fierce resistance in Tuesday night's Champions League quarter-final first leg at The Etihad. The Spaniards' produced their trademark defensive discipline, restricting the Citizens to very few opportunities before the breakthrough.

Phil Foden, on as a substitute, unlocked the deep-lying rearguard with a moment of magic, finding the perfect pass through the legs of Reinildo for De Bruyne to slot home with 20 minutes left. It was the decisive moment in the tightest of matches and gives City a slender advantage ahead of the return trip to the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday evening.

Speaking post-match, a relieved Pep Guardiola said: "We played an incredible top side who are difficult to face, but it is a good result. We had chances to score a second and third. It is not easy to face a team with a lot of experience in this tournament. We will go there next week to score and try to win again - that is always my aim for this team."

City will welcome Kyle Walker back into the fold for Sunday's showdown after the full-back served his Champions League suspension but Ruben Dias remains unavailable through injury.

Liverpool suceed in Lisbon

Liverpool warmed up for Super Sunday's mega match with a 3-1 success at Benfica in their own Champions League quarter-final first leg contest with Benfica. The Reds started strongly in Lisbon, leading 2-0 at the interval with Ibrahima Konate and Sadio Mane getting on the scoresheet - and only home goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos prevented more.

But a mistake from Konate was punished by Benfica in a rousing second-half effort, and the Portuguese outfit put Liverpool under plenty of pressure after the interval. However, the Merseysiders composed themselves thereafter and former Porto forward Luis Diaz finished coolly late on to confirm the Reds' deserved two-goal triumph at the Estadio da Luz.

Jurgen Klopp was understandably pleased with his team's efforts, saying: "Coming here and winning an away game in the Champions League is tough. Obviously, Benfica fought for their lives. We could have scored in the last minute - the fourth would be nice but we're not in dreamland. It's half-time, we know about our opponent, they will go for it again."

Attention quickly turned towards the weekend trip to The Etihad with Klopp reporting a full squad available as Liverpool look to usurp Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Reds underrated by the market?

Manchester City boast a strong recent record against Liverpool in the Premier League. The Citizens are unbeaten in the last four league head-to-head meetings (W2-D2-L0), while at The Etihad, the Blue Moon have returned a solitary reverse in 12 match-ups (W7-D4-L1 - that sole defeat arrived in Jurgen Klopp's first visit to City back in November 2015.

Manchester City 2.06 were 13 points clear of the pack in mid-January but Pep Guardiola's group have returned W5-D2-L1 since to allow Liverpool back into the title race. The Citizens have excelled against elite opposition - W8-D1-L2 against the top-eight - but do appear slightly on the short side here considering the Reds' recent resurgence.

Liverpool 3.8 have taken top honours in each of their last 10 league games and have come out on top in 16 of their most recent 18 outings across all competitions. Jurgen Klopp's troops have silenced 12 of those 18 opponents but have played out draws in all four of their encounters with fellow top-four teams thus far, including trips to Chelsea and Spurs.

Both Teams To Score a big runner

Five of the last six Premier League meetings between Manchester City and Liverpool have produced winning Both Teams To Score 1.67 selections and Over 2.5 Goals 1.74 has also paid out in five of the past six renewals. The goal expectancy for The Etihad on Super Sunday has been set at 2.90, and so the market is anticipating an open and exciting clash.

By default, both teams do prefer to play on the front-foot and three of Liverpool's four aforementioned draws with top-four rivals have concluded 2-2 this term, adding further fuel to the fire for a potentially goal-laden game.

The Reds are likely to take a proactive approach, mindful that a positive result here is probably necessary to wrestle back top spot.

However, with so little to choose between the two teams, a repeat of October's 2-2 draw at Anfield is a distinct possibility. In fact, four of the last eight City vs Liverpool dates have ended all-square and backing another Draw at 3.80 looks the best value wager to be had.

The match is being dubbed a title decider but there are plenty more twists and turns to come before the trophy is handed out in May and we not be any closer to knowing the destination of the title after this eagerly-anticipated showdown.

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