Pep Guardiola has made one change to his City side for today’s early afternoon Premier League clash with Liverpool.

City take on the Reds with a 12:30 (UK) kick-off at the Etihad Stadium.

And in the latest instalment of what is undoubtedly one of the highlight fixtures of the season, Nathan Ake comes into the team in place of Josko Gvardiol, who drops to the bench.

Jack Grealish misses out today through illness while Mateo Kovacic is not fully fit and Matheus Nunes is injured. John Stones, who missed the Chelsea 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, is back in the squad and takes a spot among the substitutes.

The match pits first versus second – the fourth Premier League meeting between City and Liverpool where both sides have been in the top two in the table.

Following a 3-2 victory in the League Cup (December 2022) and a 4-1 win in the Premier League (April 2023), we are looking to win three consecutive matches against Liverpool in all competitions for the first time since March 1937.

Victory this afternoon for City would also equal a 131-year winning record in English football.

TEAMS

CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C), Akanji, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Foden, Doku, Alvarez, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Stones, Gomez, Gvardiol, Bobb, Lewis

LIVERPOOL XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Jones, Salah, Nunez, Jota.

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Endo, Konate, Diaz, Gakpo, Elliott, Gravenberch, Quansah.

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TACTICS

Ederson will be between the posts this afternoon and supported by a four-man defence of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake.

Walker, who captains the side, will play on the right with Ake on the left and Akanji and Dias between them.

Rodrigo and Bernardo are central cogs in midfield with Phil Foden on the right and Jeremy Doku down the left.

Erling Haaland will lead the line, supported by Julian Alvarez.

HOME COMFORTS

City are aiming to equal an all-time winning record for an English top-flight club this afternoon.

Since drawing 1-1 with Everton on New Year’s Eve 2022, we have won our last 23 games at the Etihad Stadium across all competitions, winning 15 in the Premier League, three in the FA Cup and five in the Champions League.

That run is the joint second longest, tied with Preston North End’s 1892 team.

Sunderland’s 24 successive home victories across 1891 and 1892 remains the outright record – and City could draw level with a win over the Reds this afternoon in the 12:30 (UK) kick-off.

HAALAND EYES A BULLSEYE

Erling Haaland has scored 49 goals in 47 Premier League games for City.

If he bags another this afternoon, it would put him on a cool 50 – smashing the record for fastest to that milestone.

The current best is Andrew Cole who took 65 matches to reach the landmark.

The interesting sidenote is that for Haaland, Liverpool are one of only two teams he’s faced and not scored against in the top-flight – the other one being Brentford.

If that changes today, another milestone will be smashed!

PLAYMAKER TO STAR…AGAIN?

As Erling Haaland eyes another landmark, he’d be the first to admit that he’s only as good as those providing him with the chances.

Well, today against Liverpool, he has one of the very best and a playmaker who loves playing against the Reds.

Phil Foden has only been involved in more Premier League goals against Brighton (seven) than he has against Liverpool (two goals, two assists).

He has scored and assisted against the Reds on two occasions (July 2020 and February 2021) and no player in Premier League history has scored and assisted in three separate games against Liverpool as we head into today’s 12:30 (UK) kick-off.

MATCH STATS

-City beat Liverpool 4-1 in our last Premier League meeting in April last season – we’ve not won consecutive league games against the Reds since a run of four between 1935 and 1937.

-Liverpool have won just one of their last 14 Premier League away games against City (D5 L8), winning 4-1 in November 2015 in Jurgen Klopp’s first visit to the Etihad with the club.

-This is the fourth Premier League meeting between Manchester City and Liverpool with both sides starting the day in the top two in the table. Only three fixtures have been played more often in the competition’s history, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City each taking on Manchester United six times as the top two.

-City have won our last 23 home games in all competitions – victory here would equal the record for an English top-flight club, currently held by Sunderland between December 1890 and April 1892 (24, which includes a replayed victory over Notts County in the FA Cup).

-Liverpool have lost just one of their last 23 Premier League games (W15 D7), going down 2-1 at Spurs in September. However, they’re currently winless in three away from home (D2 L1) and haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last seven on the road.

-One third of City’s total Premier League goals conceded this season (4/12) came in their 4-4 draw against Chelsea last time out. It was the first time they’d conceded 4+ goals in a match since September 2020, and a 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City.

-Both Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and City’s Pep Guardiola have faced each other more than they’ve faced any other manager across their careers (28). Klopp’s 11 wins is the most by any manager against Guardiola, while Guardiola’s 10 victories is the most by any manager against the German.

-Mohamed Salah has scored 198 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, and would be the fifth player to reach 200 for the club after Ian Rush, Roger Hunt, Gordon Hodgson and Billy Liddell. He’s scored 11 goals for the Reds against City (only netting more against Manchester United, 12), which is the highest amount any player has scored against sides managed by Pep Guardiola.

-Erling Haaland has scored 49 goals in 47 Premier League games for City. A goal here would see him smash the record for fastest to 50 (currently Andrew Cole in 65 games), but Liverpool are one of two teams he’s faced and not scored against in the competition (along with Brentford).

-Liverpool duo Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah have created the most chances for each other (19) and assisted each other more (5) than any other pairing in the Premier League this season. In fact, all nine of Núñez’s assists in all competitions for the Reds have been for Salah.