Man City v Liverpool
Last Updated: 01/02/13 11:09am
Two sides looking upwards go head-to-head in what promises to be a keenly-contested North West derby, with Manchester City set to play host to Liverpool at the Eithad.
City have made it clear that they will not be surrendering their Premier League crown without a fight, with arch-rivals Manchester United unable to shake the dogged Blues from their tail.
Roberto Mancini will feel that chasing rather than leading is a favourable position to be in at present, with topping the table bringing with it added pressure - which even a side as experienced as United can feel.
City have also been flying of late, with a productive end to 2012 and a positive start to 2013 seeing Mancini's side win six of their last eight games.
Liverpool's recent run may not have been quite so impressive, but the Reds have moved quietly up the table to put themselves in contention for a shot at a top-four finish approaching the home straight.
Brendan Rodgers has been unable to shake off the inconsistencies which have held the Anfield outfit back of late - as Sunday's shock FA Cup defeat to League One outfit Oldham highlighted - but he has slowly but surely been making his mark.
Liverpool have become a tougher nut to crack, picking up four clean sheets in their last seven league games - all of which they have taken three points from - and maintaining a steady pace from this point to the finish could see them squeeze back into the chase for the top four.
The Reds must, however, improve their record in the bigger games if they are to become realistic challengers for the Champions League spots once more, with City having swept to a comfortable 3-0 victory at the Etihad last term.
Rodgers' men fared considerably better during the reverse fixture back in August but, despite leading twice, they were unable to see the game out and saw Carlos Tevez grab a late leveller in a 2-2 draw.
There do tend to be goals when these two lock horns, with forwards very much on top, but both sides are now aware of the need to tighten up and grind out every point possible, so there may be a switch to a more defensive mindset on Sunday.
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Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League Pos Team P Pts 1 Chelsea 1 3 2 Manchester City 1 3 3 Arsenal 1 3 4 Liverpool 1 3 5 Swansea City 1 3 6 Aston Villa 1 3 7 Hull City 1 3 8 Tottenham Hotspur 1 3 9 Everton 1 1 10 Leicester City 1 1 11 Sunderland 1 1 12 West Bromwich Albion 1 1 13 Crystal Palace 1 0 14 Manchester United 1 0 15 Southampton 1 0 16 Queens Park Rangers 1 0 17 Stoke City 1 0 18 West Ham United 1 0 19 Burnley 1 0 20 Newcastle United 1 0