Big Match Focus: Manchester City v Liverpool

September may be too early for talk about title six-pointers, but Manchester City and Liverpool will both expect to be in contention.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are enjoying an unbeaten run in the Premier League.   -  Getty Images

Unbeaten starts to their respective Premier League campaigns have boosted confidence at Manchester City and Liverpool, but that will be put to the test when the two meet at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Both sides have put seven points on the board from three top-flight matches, with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool particularly impressive in its 4-0 win over Arsenal last time out.

City needed some last-gasp heroics from Raheem Sterling to come away from their trip to Bournemouth with maximum points, meaning Pep Guardiola's men have won two out of two on the road.

With the Champions League group phase looming on the horizon, this weekend's meeting offers the chance for each side to prove its mettle in what could be a key match in the battle for domestic supremacy.

Sergio Aguero has scored in all five of his Premier League appearances against Liverpool at the Etihad.   -  AFP

 

FORM GUIDE:

Despite falling short of expectations in Guardiola's maiden campaign at the helm, City finished the 2016-17 in style and the continuation of that form means it enjoys a 11-match unbeaten run in the league.

That is the best run under the former Barcelona boss and it has yielded 27 points from a possible 33.

Indeed, its only loss in the last 20 top-flight outings came against champions Chelsea in April.

Liverpool closed last season with four consecutive clean sheets and its five wins in the current seven-match unbeaten streak have been to nil.

Klopp is enjoying his longest sequence without a defeat on the road in the Premier League, having avoided that fate in the previous six trips.

The goals have flowed freely, too, with the Reds having netted at least three in four of its  last five league matches.

Sadio Mane has been involved in four goals in his last four league games against City, scoring three and assisting another.   -  AFP

 

PLAYER HEAD-TO-HEAD (Sergio Aguero v Sadio Mane)

Sergio Aguero simply loves this fixture, having scored in all five of his Premier League appearances against Liverpool at the Etihad.

If the Argentina international should extend that streak on Saturday, he would equal a Premier League record.

A trio of players have scored against the same opponents in six consecutive matches – Alan Shearer (Everton), Thierry Henry (Aston Villa) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (West Ham).

While not quite as impressive as Aguero's return, Sadio Mane has found meetings with City somewhat profitable.

The Senegalese has been involved in four goals in his last four league games against City, scoring three and assisting another.

City fans may recall with a wince that all those goals he netted came in one match – a 4-2 win for Southampton in May 2016.