Premier League: Manchester City v Liverpool match preview

A look ahead to Boxing Day's Premier League fixture at the Etihad

Perhaps one of the most crucial games of the season for both teams as they battle it out to be the best in the league going into 2014.

Joe Hart secured the No 1 shirt once again after a 4-2 win over Fulham last weekend, as City look more and more convincing to take over the top spot. Manager Manuel Pellegrini will look to build on the team’s solid home win performances in the last six games. However, they will have to do without leading goal-scorer Sergio Aguero, who could be out until the end of January, with a leg muscle problem.

After signing a new deal at Anfield, Luis Suarez will be looking to add to his recent ecstatic performance in the Premier League, but will have to do without striker partner Daniel Sturridge. After high-scoring victories at West Ham, Tottenham and Norwich, Brendan Roger’s side will look to start this game strongly, especially if they want to prove themselves as definite Champions league standard and possibly title contenders.

Kick-off: Thursday, 5:30pm

Past meetings:

Manchester City 2 (Dzeko, Aguero) Liverpool 2 (Sturridge, Gerrard) Premier League, February 2013

Liverpool 2 (Skrtel, Suarez) Manchester City 2 (Toure, Tevez) Premier League, August 2012

Liverpool 2 (Gerrard, Bellamy) Manchester City 2 (De Jong, Dzeko) Carling Cup, January 2012

Stats:

City have scored 35 Premier League goals at home this season, more than 18 of the other 19 teams in the division have managed home and away.

The last three matches between the two have finished 2-2

City have now scored at least three goals in 10 of their last 12 matches in all competitions

Odds:

Manchester City to win - 1.75

Liverpool to win - 4.6

Draw - 3.5

TV: Live on BT Sport at 5:30pm, highlights on BBC1 at 10:25pm

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