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Michael Taylor 20th Nov 2009 - 15:05

Liverpool attempt to stop the rot

Thankfully, as the Republic of Ireland controversy still rumbles on, we get a distraction this weekend as the Premier League recommences, and the real highlight sees mega rich Manchester City visit Anfield where they face Liverpool.

The tension on Merseyside is sure to be palpable on Saturday with so much to either gain or lose for both of these Champions League contenders.

Liverpool, buoyed by the return to health of Steven Gerrard, have one message going into this key fixture - stop the rot.

We all know their recent troubles, both on and off the pitch, but another missed three points here could feasibly end their slim title hopes, that's if they hadn't already disappeared a few weeks ago.

The Reds' last outing, the now infamous 2-2 draw with Birmingham, said so much about where they are right now, and just how weak they look without Fernando Torres and Gerrard on the same pitch.

Their usually sublime defence is creaky to say the least; they lack creativity, a partner for Torres and somebody who can run the midfield when Gerrard isn't about.

Jamie Carragher is a distant cry from his usual steely self and even the usually super dependable Pepe Reina has looked shaky at times.

It all goes to say that they're a team in trouble which makes Man City's trip even more important.

Mark Hughes' team have suddenly become the main contender to wreck the Big Four's Premier League monopoly and, if they manage to take all the points away from Anfield, it could almost be seen as the passing of the beacon.

City haven't exactly shone so far this year but they certainly have the players capable of delivering on a stage as big as Liverpool.

Adebayor, Tevez, Wright-Phillips and Bellamy form, on their day, a scary forward line that could very easily open the Reds' wounds still further.

They're still a long way off the finished article, and I'm not fully convinced by Hughes as a big time manager, but they are sure to give the home side at least a few headaches.

Perhaps the key reason I can see the Citizens leaving with at least a point though is their knack for being a very hard team to beat.

They may have far too many draws for their fans' liking but they've only lost a league-leading one game and that was due to a last gasp Michael Owen strike at Old Trafford.

Unlike with Liverpool, City seem to be pulling together as a team and battling for everything they can muster - a fact that would have surprised most people before the season's start.

In terms of betting I think there is only one way to look though - at the draw.

Especially when you consider the five consecutive draws the away side have achieved you have to believe the draw priced at 23/10 is the stand out market in this game.

If you're chasing bigger prices though I'd be giving very serious consideration to a 2-2 draw priced at 12/1.

Both sides have more than a few goals in them and both teams also have defences that aren't altogether solid - if you put two and two together you end up with 2-2!

In terms of the goalscorers I'm looking towards Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt after he scored in both fixtures against City last season - the Dutchman looks a great shot at 13/2 if he manages to pick himself up after several poor showings.

Make sure you check out our massive range of pre-match and in-play markets on this potential epic from Anfield. With over 175 betting opportunities prior to the kick-off, you're sure to find a price that'll liven up your Saturday afternoon.



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