Manchester City v Liverpool: the predictions and the psychology

Manchester City at home are only second best to Liverpool – having dropped points in a defeat as opposed to a draw.  The factor Manchester City have in their favour is that at home they are scoring 3.5 goals a match on average – which gives them a lot of leeway when facing a team at the top of the league.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21

Looking at the away performance Liverpool are the team who drop down a place from their overall league position…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20

Tottenham’s performance away is quite something – and may well be related to their happiness away because they are not playing at Wembley and thus reminded yet again of the delays in the building of their stadium, and allegations that it is being built on the cheap.

But Liverpool, although unbeaten away, have only knocked in 21 goals – 2.1 per game, against Manchester City’s 3.5 a game.  In defence away from home Liverpool are slightly better off conceding 0.5 goals a game away to 0.9 for Manchester City at home.

But these figures combined do leave Manchester City with a goal difference at home, 10 greater than Liverpool away.

In December in the league Manchester City got these results…

01 Dec 2018 Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth W 3-1
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City W 1-2
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City L 2-0
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton W 3-1
22 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Crystal Palace L 2-3
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City L 2-1
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City W 1-3

Three defeats against four victories – clearly not was expected by those in power which is what makes me think Manchester City will go out on another spending spree – although they will have the problem in that they are pretty well full of non-home-grown players and so will be looking for home growners to keep them growing.  As it were.  Unless they flog off some of their expensive foreigners on the cheap.

Liverpool in December had a perfect run of wins – including an extra game with a 1-0 win in the Champions League.  A perfect month.

02 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Everton W 1-0
05 Dec 2018 Burnley v Liverpool W 1-3
08 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool W 0-4
16 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Manchester United W 3-1
21 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool W 0-2
26 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Newcastle United W 4-0
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal W 5-1

22 goals in seven games – an average of 3.14 per game.  Manchester City scored 14 in seven, an average of two per game.

So Liverpool have the advantages of both no defeats in December and more goals scored.  They are the team in form.   Manchester City however have the form in goal scoring across the whole season.

The psychological effect

I believe that the ownership of Manchester City expected the club to win the league season year after year rather like Bayern in Germany and Juventus in Italy.  I suspect the manager and players had pretty much the same idea.  Just as the revelations about the way Manchester City and Uefa handled negotiations over expenditure in relation to Champions League rules, I do believe there is no thought that either rules or second best applies to them.

Now they don’t just have pesky neighbours who haven’t won the league in 29 years, they have pesky neighbours who are above them and on a better run.  That’s not the plan at all.

This could be causing some tension, and following their nine goals in the last two games, I suspect the psychological balance is very much with Liverpool.  They just expect to score, and go on scoring.

I have Liverpool to win, maybe 2-1.

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