The Premier League returns to action in some style on Saturday 1st April, with reigning champions Manchester City hosting Liverpool – who have been the Citizens’ most consistent challengers in recent years – at the Etihad Stadium.
Man City can close the gap to league leaders Arsenal to five points with a victory against Jurgen Klopp’s side, although the Gunners take on Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium shortly after the full-time whistle is blown to end Saturday’s early-kick off in Manchester.
Elsewhere, Newcastle United host Manchester United in a potentially crucial top four battle on Sunday, while manager-less Tottenham Hotspur head to Merseyside to take on Everton on Monday night.
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Man City v Liverpool (Saturday 12:30 GMT+1)
No manager has beaten Pep Guardiola more times than Jurgen Klopp during the Spaniard’s successful career in the dugout, with the duo enjoying plenty of battles during their respective spells in Germany and England.
Their meetings generally represent the ultimate clash of styles: for Guardiola, possession of the ball remains nine-tenths of the law, whereas Klopp thrives on transition and chaos.
In the Premier League, the Citizens have not beaten Liverpool in front of a crowd since what turned out to be a title-deciding 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium in January 2019.
With Guardiola’s side winning 11 of their 13 league games at home this season, and Liverpool losing seven of their 13 away trips, this clearly represents Man City’s best chance of ending that particular run.
Backing them to win at odds of 1.64 looks decent value, then, with City winning and Both Teams To Score (1/GG) providing a bit more juice for those who want it at odds of 2.95.
One decisive factor could prove to be the fitness of Erling Haaland, who pulled out of international duty for Norway during the recent break due to a groin injury. The 22-year-old reportedly missed training for his club on Thursday and may not be risked ahead of crucial Champions League ties against Bayern Munich.
However, Julian Alvarez starred alongside Lionel Messi on the way to winning the recent World Cup with Argentina, and the 23-year-old represents a perfectly able deputy should Haaland be excluded from Guardiola’s starting XI.
If Alvarez starts, odds of 2.22 for him to score anytime looks excellent value considering he would be leading the line and has bagged in three of his last four starts for his club.