Free football betting tips: Man City v Liverpool - Mark O'Haire's Super Sunday preview & best bets

Pep Guardiola (left) and Jurgen Klopp

Mark O'Haire has a preview and best bets for the Super Sunday clash between title challengers Manchester City and champions Liverpool.

Recommended bets

2pts Under 3.5 goals at 3/4

1pt Sadio Mane 2+ tackles at 1/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Manchester City v Liverpool

Manchester City and Liverpool renew their rivalry with a big Etihad showdown on Super Sunday. The Reds know victory would extend their early advantage over City to eight points (the Citizens enjoying a game in hand) and such leads – even at this stage of the campaign – could prove pivotal when the end-of-season honours are handed out in May.

It’s a six-pointer and there’s plenty at stake. Despite what the league table may suggest at this moment in time, Man City and Liverpool remain the two leading lights in the country, coached by two of the game’s most respected minds. The market is anticipating a humdinger but I’m not quite so confident we’ll see a shootout unfold in Manchester.

There’s a healthy respect from either camp and both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp will be well-versed in the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. The two managers will also be totally aware of the pitfalls for losing such a contest at this point in the campaign and I wonder whether a more cautious fixture and ‘must not lose’ mentality may play out.

Either way, there’s little wriggle room in the odds department. City are almost always priced up around the evens mark when welcoming Liverpool in Premier League action, and the absence of Sergio Aguero is almost enough to negate the benefits in the market when weighed against Virgil van Dijk’s unavailability for the Reds.

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Man City haven’t quite hit their straps this season despite improving results-wise since the Leicester debacle. Kevin De Bruyne’s return to fitness is a major plus, while it’s too early to say whether Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias are the answer to Guardiola’s defensive issues. Gabriel Jesus could feature but his ability to play 90 minutes is questionable.

Liverpool excelled in midweek, Jota staking a serious claim for a starting berth in the Reds’ front-three and Klopp was able to rest and rotate his team with the match sewn up before the hour mark in Bergamo. Joel Matip is in contention again, leaving the visitors with four of their first-choice backline able and available after recent injury issues.

If the duo do adopt a pragmatic approach, the draw at 12/5 has to be considered, but the more appealing punt would be to oppose goals. Under 3.5 Goals is trading at 3/4 and was a regular winner when both City and Liverpool went head-to-head with fellow top-half teams in 2019/20, although the size of value available in this selection is only marginal.

Admittedly, both clashes between the pair produced four or more goals last season but one arrived after the Reds were crowned champions. However, 11 of City’s remaining 16 matches with top-10 finishers featured three goals or fewer (two of the five that didn’t came against Burnley). The same could be said of 14 of Liverpool’s 16 outings against the same standard of opposition when excluding City.

Sadio Mane is backed to in the thick of it for Liverpool

Meanwhile, I’m happy to have an interest on Sadio Mane making two or more tackles at even-money. The Senegalese winger will be on the same side as Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Ferran Torres in Man City’s proposed 4-3-3 and therefore should be involved in plenty of action, with and without the ball.

Mane’s defensive contribution cannot be doubted; the former Metz youngster has made at least two tackles in four of his six Premier League encounters already in 2020/21 and made at least one successful tackle in 11 of his final 12 games last term, highlighting his commitment to the cause. He made four tackles in the first clash with City in 2019/20.

Score prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (Sky Bet odds: 17/2)

Best bets:

Odds correct on 1630 BST (05/11/20)

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