Keep It Simple.
That’s the title of Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne’s autobiography. The one that he released in October 2014 when he was just 23. Now when we were 23 our first few autobiography chapters would have been about how many VKs we’d drunk in Oceana last week, and that girl we almost took home had we not got involved in a sing-song outside the kebab van. De Bruyne’s was a story of one of Belgium’s hottest young prospects, and after swapping Wolfsburg for the Etihad Stadium for £55m in August, the Premier League’s union of defenders are starting to realise why.
On Saturday night Manchester City welcome Liverpool to the Etihad, and despite Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win at Anfield a few weeks ago, the sense of Klopptimism around the Reds appears unwavering.
There’s plenty of reasons to suspect it may take another dent this week though. And punters can take advantage.
In the last 20 years Liverpool have played City away 14 times in the top flight, and in eight of those games at least one team has failed to score. There have been more clean sheets in this fixture than you’d find in a hotel laundry, and recent form suggests it will be Liverpool drawing a blank this weekend.
- Liverpool have scored just six times in six games on the road this year, the same number of goals as Swansea and Sunderland
- Manchester City have kept seven clean sheets in the league this year, and have the second meanest defence in the top flight
- In the seven games where Man City have kept clean sheets, they have won five and drawn two
Manchester City are unbeaten in 11 of the 14 games at home against Liverpool in the league in the last 20 years, and they are odds on at to win again on Saturday night. Since back-to-back defeats against Tottenham and West Ham in September, City are unbeaten in five while Liverpool have only won two of the last 10 league games.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side offer up a little bit more value at to win to nil, while it’s a skinny for ‘no’ in the both teams to score market and continue the trend. For punters digging around for that little bit of extra value, City are to win by the 2-0 scoreline. They’ve won 2-0 in 12 of their 59 league wins since the start of the 2013/14 season – that’s the most popular of their winning scorelines and it has a strike rate of 20 per cent.
For club and country De Bruyne has eight goals in his last 14 games in all competitions, so his ability to find the onion bag from midfield is certainly in no doubt. He’s attempted just 17 shots in the league and scored three goals, so with a conversion rate of 18 per cent, we’re willing to take a gamble on him to bag the first goal at . While Raheem Sterling will get the focus of the media’s glare, and with Sergio Aguero not yet fully fit and David Silva certainly missing, the stage is set for De Bruyne to steal the show.
If you fancy a little spice in your life, it’s a 28/1 shot that De Bruyne scores first in a 2-0 win for the home side.
So our punting advice is simple. Back City to win to nil, back the 2-0 correct score, or if you fancy a little Saturday night spice, take the 28/1 forecast. Otherwise, Keep It Simple and back De Bruyne.