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Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool make the short trip to face the blue half of Manchester at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon, and the Welshman will be hoping that the sudden upturn in their Premier League fortunes will play some part in what would be a monumental achievement, should they take all three points away from the current title holders.

Their humiliating 3-2 loss to Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup aside, Liverpool have come on in leaps and bounds since the turn of the new year; picking up 10 points from a possible 15 in their last 5 games and scoring goals galore – the only blot on their copybook being a 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Reds showed great heart in their 2-2 draw on Wednesday against Arsenal at the Emirates, and with Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez firing on all cylinders, there is definitely potential to cause an upset in Manchester, but can that potential be realised?

Manchester City remain tremendously tough to beat at home. Everton and Manchester United are the only teams to take 3 points away from the Etihad in over two years, and visitors Liverpool have been on the receiving end of some heavy defeats there over the last couple of years.

Roberto Mancini is definitely missing his African contingent due to the Africa Cup Of Nations, Yaya Toure being the biggest loss; his presence visibly missing in City’s 0-0 draw with QPR at Loftus Road on Tuesday.

That said, Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches available in terms of players, and the departure of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan is sure to create a sense of calm on the training ground, which will surely contribute positively to the job in hand of catching city rivals Manchester United.

Bookmakers have made Manchester City 5/6 favourites to take the spoils, a price I think is very much on the generous side, with Liverpool available to back at 7/2. The stalemate is offered at around 11/4.

We have ascertained that the visitors are indeed improving into something like the team we expected at the beginning of the season, but after a tough game in London against Arsenal on Wednesday, it may be asking a little too much for them to beat the Premier League Champions in their own back yard.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini will accept nothing less than a win here in front of home fans, and I’m pretty confident that his star-studded team will once again raise their game after a rather dull 0-0 draw in midweek.

It’s also worth noting that Liverpool are yet to win a single game against top half opposition, both home and away. I’ll be backing Manchester City to continue that trend at very attractive odds.


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