Manchester City vs Liverpool – Key talking points and stats

Manchester City meet Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend, as the division’s top two go head-to-head in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Just one point separates the sides ahead of the contest, in what could be a pivotal fixture in this season’s Premier League title race. Ahead of the game, we’ve delved into some of the key stats.

Manchester City vs Liverpool – Key talking points and stats:

Klopp curses early kick-off

Jurgen Klopp has made his feelings clear on the Premier League’s scheduling, as Liverpool prepare for a third lunchtime kick-off of the campaign. No side has featured in the 12:30 Saturday slot on more occasions than the Reds, while Liverpool have now featured in this game after all three international breaks.

Liverpool have a host of key players travelling back from South America ahead of the game, with Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Alexis Mac Allister and Alisson among the names who have crossed the Atlantic for international duty this month.

It’s also the 13th time the Reds have played in Saturday’s early kick off after an international break under Klopp, a staggering SEVEN more than any other side.

Last season, Liverpool failed to win in six 12:30 kick-offs in the Premier League, including a 4-1 thrashing at Manchester City.

Haaland heading towards another record

Erling Haaland is the Premier League’s leading scorer once again, having followed his record-breaking debut campaign at Manchester City with another glut of goals this time around.

Haaland has now scored an astonishing 49 goals in 47 games in the Premier League and will bring up a half-century if he nets against Liverpool. Andy Cole currently holds the record as the fastest to 50, having taken 65 games to reach that total.

Haaland should shatter that record.

The fastest players to 50 Premier League goals

Salah closes in on own landmark

Right behind Haaland in this season’s Golden Boot race is Mohamed Salah, who is chasing another milestone or two of his own. Salah needs one more goal to reach 150 in the Premier League, a landmark that would see him move level with Michael Owen and into the all-time top 10 goalscorers in the division’s history.

The 31-year-old – who has 12 goals in 16 games in all competitions this season – is also on 198 Liverpool goals. A brace this weekend would see the Egyptian become just the fifth player to reach 200 in all competitions for the club.

City home form vs Liverpool struggles on the road

A trip to the Etihad is just about the hardest venture in world football right now, with the treble winners having been flawless on home soil of late. Pep Guardiola’s side have won 23 consecutive home games in all season, last failing to claim a win at the Etihad after a 1-1 draw with Everton on December 31, 2022.

City can match the famous record of the Sunderland side of 1891/92 this weekend, after the Black Cats won 24 consecutive home games 131 years ago. Football has changed a lot since then.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have struggled to replicate their own strong home form in away games. The Reds are without an away win in the Premier League since beating Wolves on September 13, dropping points at Spurs, Brighton and Luton in their last three on the road.

Jurgen Klopp has also failed to win an away Premier League game at Manchester City since his first visit to the Etihad in 2015. Liverpool lost at Manchester City in league and EFL Cup last season.

Van Dijk back to his best

Suggestions that Virgil van Dijk was no longer the Premier League’s best centre-back appear to have been made prematurely, following the Dutch defender’s imperious form this season.

“Last year I know I wasn’t at my best,” Van Dijk admitted this month.

“I had good games and lesser good games and I just have to perform on the pitch. What I strive for each and every game but also all season is consistency, that the team can rely on me at a certain level all the time and this year definitely off the pitch with the captaincy, something I enjoy and am learning still. I’m not perfect but I’m doing it my way and enjoying the challenge.”

The numbers show his influence this season, with the 32-year-old leading the Premier League for percentage of duels won (80.5%). He’s winning more duels – at a higher success rate – more aerials, and making more tackles and interceptions per 90 than last season, while he is yet to be dribbled past in the Premier League this season. Liverpool’s colossal captain will be crucial to their chances.

Read – Eight talking points ahead of the Premier League weekend

Read more – An absolutely insane list of Mohamed Salah records

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