Kick off 13:37
Two coolly dispatched penalties from captain Steven Gerrard maintained Liverpool’s title challenge as they beat West Ham 1-2 in spite of an solid performance from the Hammers.
Phillippe Coutinho may be renowned for his sublime skill with the ball at his feet but Brendan Rodgers has also instilled an excellent work ethic and team mindset to complement his talent. He is one of only four Liverpool players, along with Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson and Lucas Leiva to have moved into triple figures for tackles attempted, with Coutinho currently having an excellent 107 to his name.
Although the Reds have been prone to the odd defensive error this season, Martin Skrtel’s overall form has been outstanding. Not only has he chipped in with six goals, the Slovakian also leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 355, as well as winning 78% of his 51 attempted tackles.
Of all the exceptional qualities that define Luis Suarez, perhaps first among them is his work ethic. He is constantly on the move, making it incredibly difficult for defenders to track him and easier for the Uruguayan to fashion the mismatch duels on which he thrives. Such has been his success this season that not only does he lead the league for total shots on goal with 134, he is the only player to have moved into triple figures in this regard, as well as being the only player to have moved past the 20-barrier for assists given. Suarez is 13/10 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
Should Liverpool win the Premier League title this season, the one man who will have deserved such a victory the most will clearly be their captain Steven Gerrard. He remains the heartbeat of this Reds side, racking up 808 completed passes in the opponent’s half, as well as being the only Liverpool player aside from Suarez to have moved into double figures for dribbles, crosses, and assists (13, 16, 10).
Manchester City also maintained their momentum as they look to reclaim the Premier League title, comprehensively beating Southampton 4-1 at the Etihad last time out. Yaya Toure was on target from the penalty spot, and he was supported by three different goalscorers in Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic showing just how much threat City possess across all areas of the pitch.
Fernandinho has been exceptional in his first season at the Etihad but he will face perhaps the sternest test of his City career this weekend. It will likely be the Brazilian who is tasked with breaking up Liverpool’s rhythm and preventing the quick supply of ball from the likes of Coutinho and Sterling through to SAS. His stats certainly suggest that he is up to the challenge though, compiling more defensive contributions (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles won) than any other City player this season with 181.
His midfield partner Yaya Toure has been equally brilliant this campaign, consistently driving City forward and stepping up at crucial moments. He leads the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 1,157 at an average rate of one every 2.25 minutes he’s been on the pitch.
This Liverpool side are blessed with extreme pace but Man City are certainly not short in that department either. In Jesus Navas they have one of the quickest players in the league and you can be sure he will be looking to test out Liverpool’s fullbacks should he feature this weekend. He’s compiled an impressive 25 dribbles this term, as well as squad-leading 22 crosses so expect plenty of work for the Liverpool defence this weekend. Navas is an industry best 13/2 to score at any time this weekend with 888sport.com.
At the other end of the pitch, City captain Vincent Kompany has been another consistent performer for Manuel Pellegrini this term and the rock upon which much of their success has been built. The Belgian captain has won an excellent 78% of his 59 attempted tackles this season, as well as a squad-leading 11 blocks.