Manchester City vs Liverpool
Thursday, December 26, 5.30PM kick off
Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Live on BT Sport
One of the standout fixtures over the festive season will be Manchester City’s clash with Liverpool on Boxing Day, with both sides in the mix for honours this season.
The Etihad Stadium outfit have turned their home into a fortress this term, taking maximum points from their clashes in Manchester in the Premier League. This home form, in which Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been put to the sword, promises to install Manuel Pellegrini’s men as one of the favourites for the Premier League title come May.
City are the top goalscorers in the English Premier League this season, but will be without Argentine talisman Sergio Aguero for the clash against the Reds, who is currently on the treatment table.
Despite this, the Chilean manager has a wealth of attacking talent waiting to deputise, and the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Alvaro Negredo will threaten the Anfield club’s rearguard.
Against Fulham in City’s last outing, Pellegrini opted to play Negredo and Edin Dzeko in attack, with the visitors scoring four goals away from home for the first time this season in a 4-2 win.
Ahead of the game, the hosts are one point behind Liverpool and will look to get a win to take them above the Merseysiders in the table.
Liverpool have had inconsistent form away from home this season, but put that right with a 5-0 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane recently.
The manner of the performance was as impressive as the result, and it appears that Brendan Rodgers’ men are ticking into gear at just the right time.
In Luis Suarez, the Merseysiders have the form player in the division. The Uruguayan has been lethal in front of goal this season, while his link-up play and creativity have made Liverpool a force to be reckoned with.
The tempestuous Uruguyan put pen to paper on a new contract last week and netted twice in the Reds’ 3-1 win over Cardiff last time out. This brace takes Suarez to 19 goals already in the Premier League.
Despite the forced absence of Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard through injury, Rodgers’ team dynamic at the moment seems very balanced, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling stepping up to take responsibility in the pair’s absence.
Although the top four will be Liverpool’s priority this season, many are touting the Reds as potential title challengers, and they are right in the mix at the half-way point in the campaign.
However, they face arguably the toughest game in English football here, and will need to be at their very best to avoid defeat at the Etihad Stadium. That said, Liverpool did win on their last visit to the Etihad Stadium – a 1-0 victory in the Capital One Cup back in January 2012.
With a congested fixture list, cup competitions on the horizon and the players starting to feel fatigue, this fixture will be a real test of the respective sides’ ambitions to remain within the higher reaches of the league. Three points for either side would be a real indicator that the victor is ready to kick on and have a successful 2014.
The match is live on BT Sport in the UK. As well as showing exclusively live Premier League games, BT Sport also offer action from Europe’s top leagues including the Bundesliga and Serie A. For details in how to sign up for BT Sport, click here.