- Man City are unbeaten in their last 5 home games v Liverpool
- City won 17, drew 1 and lost 1 of their 10 PL home games last year
- Liverpool haven’t lost a PL away match in 2014, (W7, D2)
On Monday Manchester City and Liverpool square off at the Etihad Stadium (Watch live on NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET and online via Live Extra) as last seasons’ top two met early on in 2014-15.
Both teams won their opening Premier League matches of the new season and will be hoping to set down an early marker for their title credentials under the floodlights in Manchester on Monday. Liverpool will be the slight underdogs but with both teams eager to attack and combining to score 203 goals last season, expect a goal fest.
Brendan Rodgers’ men looked a little disjointed in their season opening vs. Southampton last weekend and will undoubtedly miss Luis Suarez after he bagged 31 goals last year. As for Man City, they haven’t made too many changes to their title winning squad and put in a thoroughly professional display against Newcastle last time out.
In team news, Manchester City could continue with Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko up front as Sergio Aguero isn’t fit to start, while new signing Eliaquim Mangala isn’t fit after his arrival from FC Porto. Liverpool may hand debuts to new boys Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic, but Adam Lallana is still out on the sidelines.
What they’re saying
Liverpool boss Rodgers on Man City’s success: “They’ve been fantastic in the league for two out of the last three years. They pipped us last year but we had two fantastic games against them. It’s going to be a tough game they’ve done really well, they’ve got lots of wonderful, experienced players in their ranks. They’ve been put together to win and that’s what they’ve been doing. Manuel has done a great job coming in last season and managing that group.”
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini on City’s squad: “We have strengthened our squad a little over the summer and I am happy with it. I did not go looking for a striker because we already have four at the club. Other clubs have strengthened too. They want to improve, which is what you would expect, but we want to improve too. We believe we can still get better.”
This game should be open and have plenty of goals in it. Both teams prefer to attack and the last time they met Liverpool prevailed 3-2 at Anfield towards the end of last season as they looked to have all but wrapped up the PL title. Man City came roaring back and the Reds stumbled to hand the Citizens the crown. If City get off to a flier in their opening home match of the season, this could get ugly for Liverpool. I am going for a home win, 3-1 to City.
Thibaut Courtois has denied reports he could leave London for Paris Saint-Germain this summer after a disappointing season at Chelsea.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper missed a large portion of the season through injury and failed to regain his top form when healthy as the Blues struggled throughout the year.
With a new manager in Antonio Conte taking over in June, some believed Courtois would be sold to allow the Italian to bring in a goalkeeper of his choice.
[ MORE: Atletico Madrid reach UCL final ]
Despite recent reports linking Courtois with a transfer to PSG that would make him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, the Belgian international does not fancy a move to France.
Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, Courtois said he is happy at Chelsea and will “100-percent” be back at Stamford Bridge next season.
I have never had any contact with PSG. I have played a lot against PSG recently – twice last season, again this season in a friendly and twice more in the Champions League this year.
They are a good club who win their league easily. Me, I like playing in England. Paris is a very good club but I am happy at Chelsea.
I have a contract for three years, so I will say 100 per cent [be staying at Chelsea]. Rumours affect any club where things are going badly. People think the top players want to leave because they are not in the Champions League.
Those words show quite a change from Courtois’ opinion a few months ago, when he cast doubt over his Chelsea future.
At just 23, Courtois has already made more than 200 appearances in his career for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. Although he did not have a standout season this year, Courtois has shown his talent as a potential top-five goalkeeper in the world and Conte would be wise to keep him.
ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Paraguay’s top court has rejected a petition by Nicolas Leoz, the former head of the South American football confederation, to halt his extradition to the United States.
Leoz is being held under house arrest in Paraguay. He is accused of receiving millions in bribes and kickbacks and was among dozens of top officials indicted in the FIFA corruption scandal.
[ FOLLOW: Leicester City’s miracle ]
Leoz’s lawyer Ricardo Preda told The Associated Press that his petition was turned down, but that he would continue to appeal against the extradition.
Leoz was the head of CONMEBOL from 1986 until 2013 when he resigned, and was replaced by Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay.
Figueredo is under house arrest in Uruguay on similar charges. Figueredo was replaced by Juan Angel Napoul of Paraguay, who is under house arrest in Miami.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is “100-percent” for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal match against Manchester City.
Ronaldo missed the first leg at the Etihad while recovering from a thigh injury, which ended a scoreless draw.
[ MORE: UCL semifinal preview ]
The Champions League’s all-time leading scorer with 93 goals, Ronaldo has not featured for Real since suffering the injury in a La Liga match against Villarreal on April 20.
Real Madrid had the better of chances in the first leg in Manchester, but Joe Hart’s heroics stopped Zidane’s side from grabbing an all-important away goal. However, Ronaldo’s absence was clearly visible and his return is a massive boost for Real.
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Even if Ronaldo is not 100-percent fit as Zidane claims, his inclusion in the lineup is still vital for Real’s success. A threat in so many different aspects of the game, his presence alone can throw off opposing defenses, leaving more time and space for his teammates to expose a City back-line that has its flaws.
Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has been around football for a long time, but even he can’t explain Leicester City’s miraculous title run.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Leicester coverage ]
With the Foxes now officially champions of England, Scudamore hailed the achievement as “the biggest sporting story ever.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, the Premier League’s top exec said Leicester’s run has silenced all the bookmakers and critics who said it could never happen, but that he wouldn’t want it any other way.
It’s probably the biggest sporting story ever and the biggest sporting achievement ever.
Nobody saw it coming and even when it was halfway through the season nobody said it could be sustained.
We don’t know what the future holds because we’ve all become completely hopeless at predicting anything, including the bookmakers and everybody else – because this one nobody saw coming.
It’s made mugs of all of us and that is just the most fantastic feeling.
If the bookmakers had it as a 5,000-1 event, you would imagine you should achieve these type of things once every 5,000 years. It gives us 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of being able to say: ‘Leicester 2016. Just remember Leicester 2016.’
Pegged as pre-season favorites for relegation, Leicester defied the odds (5,000-1 odds) and claimed the most unlikely of championships. A top executive with the Premier League since 1999, even Scudamore had to admit he had a bit of egg on his face.
[ VOTE: What is the top moment from Leicester’s fairytale run? ]
Scudamore may not have believed in the Foxes, but few outside the city really did. One thing the chairman did have right though, is that we will all remember ‘Leicester 2016.’