By Gary Fulcher and Daniel Rhodes.
The final international break of the calendar year is behind us (hooray!!) as Liverpool return to Premier League action with a trip to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday – 5.30pm kick off UK time – with league leaders Manchester City the opponents, currently nine places and nine points above the Reds after 12 games. The 1-2 defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield was a first defeat in seven matches under Jürgen Klopp but only a third loss from 18 matches across all competitions. The problem the Reds have faced this season is turning draws into wins, with only six victories achieved from 18 matches across three different competitions, compared to nine draws.
Manchester City drew 0-0 at Aston Villa in their last league outing, the second time in three matches they have failed to score with both away matches (Villa and the Manchester derby) ending 0-0. Pellegrini’s side have been formidable at home, boasting the best record in the top flight with five wins and one defeat from their six matches. That solitary defeat came against West Ham back in September, 1-2. Their other five games have seen City score 18 goals while conceding three with victories over Chelsea (3-0), Watford (2-0), Newcastle (6-1), Bournemouth (5-1) and Norwich (2-1).
Liverpool have won two, drawn three and lost one on their travels in the league this season and given the opposition faced, that’s an impressive return from some tough fixtures. The only defeat from our opening six away from Anfield came against Man Utd at Old Trafford (1-3), with the three draws coming against Arsenal (0-0), Everton (1-1) and Spurs (0-0). Our two victories came against Stoke (1-0) and Chelsea (3-1) with both of those teams currently sitting below the Reds in the league.
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