Monday stalemate on the cards

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: August 25 2014, 19:57 BST

Our David John thinks Manchester City and Liverpool will take a point each in their Premier League clash on Monday.

Raheem Sterling: Now the focus for Liverpool
Raheem Sterling: Now the focus for Liverpool

Manchester City play host to Liverpool in the biggest game of the Premier League season so far on Monday night.

Our David John previews the clash, which is being shown live in the UK on Sky Sports, and expects there to be little between the teams at the Etihad Stadium.

Check out his thoughts and his best bet for the game.

Manchester City v Liverpool (2000 BST)

BRONZE: 1pt Man City and Liverpool to draw at 3/1 - three of the last five clashes ended in stalemate and every chance this will be closely fought

It is probably fair to say that both City and Liverpool were not at their sharpest on the opening weekend against perceived lesser opposition but they at least managed to make an important winning start.

Both have boosted their squads over the summer with City seemingly having quality competition for all positions across the park while Liverpool helped themselves to a good deal of Southampton's talent pool as their turbulent relationship with Luis Suarez finally came to an end.

Mario Balotelli could potentially be the next player to arrive at Anfield - but not in time to face his old employers - and with three of the last five encounters between these two ending in 2-2 draws, another closely-fought showdown looks on the cards.

The champions are odds-on for victory and I think that rather under-estimates the visitors, who can be backed at 7/2.

Brendan Rodgers has entirely the right kind of players for this type of game with the pace up front of Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge able play on the shoulders of the home side's back four.

Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson in the midfield should be able to pick the right pass. I can certainly envisage the visitors getting on the scoresheet at the very least as they have produced a good recent record when it comes to playing the best teams around.

City are likely to flood the midfield in a bid to stifle any creativity with Stevan Jovetic expected to play a slightly deeper role to help out in the engine room.

Jovetic had a first season to forget in Manchester and is keen to quickly move on. He retains plenty of confidence in his own ability and feels he has plenty of goals in his locker this year.

He can be backed at 2/1 to score anytime but the slightly altered role he is going to be asked to play does make this a little less tempting despite his lively performance last week on Tyneside.

Sterling looks the key man currently for the opposition.

Rodgers has been patient with him and while Suarez took the vast majority of the limelight last season, the stage looks set for him to take over the mantle in terms of contribution.

His goal to open the scoring against the Saints was what we have come to expect while his deft finish against this rival back in April was coolness personified.

I think he is likely to be a popular wager in the anytime goalscorer market but at the prices, I like the draw at 3/1 based on the theory that there is not going to be much to choose between the two sides on the night - again.

Verdict: Manchester City 1 Liverpool 1

Opta facts:

Manchester City have scored exactly two goals in each of their last four Premier League games against Liverpool.

Daniel Sturridge has scored 32 goals in 44 league games for Liverpool.

Edin Dzeko has scored five goals and assisted one more in his last five Premier League appearances.

Posted at 1815 BST on 23/08/14.