Goodisonpark3.jpg by Genius&Gerry is licensed by CC BY 2.0

As far as footballing cities go, you will be hard pressed to find two more passionate, they live and breath football and you can’t pass a couple of people or get into a cab without the topic of football being mentioned.

Outside of the capital which has an abundance of teams, these two cities are the most successful. Merseyside edge the trophy count over Manchester with a massive 84 trophies to Manchester’s 82.

Both of the games are live on Sky Sports via your Gibsat box.

The 13.30 kick off comes from Goodison Park as Everton F.C take on Manchester City F.C.

The 2 teams have met 181 times over the years and the record couldn’t be tighter, Everton have won 67 times, Man City 68 times and it has ended a draw 46 times.

Everton are without Tom Cleverley for the tie as he made a loan switch to Watford this week but they will be bolstered by their two new signings Ademola Lookman and Morgan Schneiderlin Lookman was cup tied for last weekends F.A Cup tie but will be eligible to make his Everton debut this weekend. Everton boss Ronald Koeman has admitted Schneiderlin is lacking match fitness but condeded the only way to gain match fitness is to play matches so we expect to see him at some point against City.

Everton are currently in 7th in the league but are 9 points behind 6th place Man Utd. Their recent league for has been good with wins over Leicester and Southampton and a draw away at Hull in their last 3 games. Their last outing in the F.A Cup was not so good letting a one goal slip to Leicester and losing 2-1.

Man City fans will be extremely pleased to hear that club captain Vincent Kompany is back in contention for a place in the team following a lengthy spell out through injury. Kevin De Bruyne has been ill all week but should be ok for the game and Sane should be fit too. The only real injury doubt is Fernando plus Fernandinho serves the 2nd of his 4 match ban. John Stones is expected to play for the first time back at his former home and manager Pep Guardiola is confident Stones has what it takes to deal with the pressure of a hostile environment.

Man City will be unhappy with their season overall so far and are down in 4th place and 7 points behind leaders Chelsea. They have won 4 of their last 5 leasgue games losing only to rivals Liverpool in that time. Last time out in the F. A Cup they destroyed West Ham 5-0 at the London stadium, the Sky Blues were rampant and will take that confidence into this weekends game.

Last time they met in October in the reverse fixture, despite a dominant performance from City, Everton took the lead 1-0 through a very good Lukaku goal, City pushed and pushed and forced save after save and missed opportunity after opportunity but the pressure eventually told in the 72nd minute with an equaliser from Nolito. The match ended 1-1 and City will have felt it was 2 points dropped.

I think City can continue their good form here and you back them @5/6 to do so with nearly all the firms. The draw is @3/1 with BetFred and Everton can be backed @15/4 with Boylesport.

Romelu Lukaku courtesy of Кирилл Крыжановский

If you fancy Lukaku to score first goal again like he did in the return fixture he can be backed @11/2 with a lot of the firms. Aguero first goal will be a popular bet and he can be backed @10/3 with William Hill to do so.

The 16.00 comes from Old Trafford as Manchester United F.C play host to their bitter rivals Liverpool.

Old Trafford by André Zahn

The two sides are the most successful clubs in English football and some of the most supported clubs across the world. The teams have 124 trophies between them and 38 top flight titles.

Man Utd edge the head to head with 87 wins to Liverpool’s 75 and 63 draws have been played out between the two clubs.

One top of this we have self acclaimed “The Special One” v “The Normal One”.

Two important doubts for Utd are Marcos Rojo who may miss out and Zlatan Ibrahimovich who should make the squad. Luke Shaw is pushing for a recall but Eric Bailly is away at the African Nations with Ivory Coast.

Utd will not be completely pleased with their league position, despite being only 5 points behind 2nd placed Liverpool they are in 6th and 10 points behind leader Chelsea which could be stretched to 13 if Chelsea win their Saturday evening game against Leicester. The Red Devils are on a fantastic unbeaten run and a win streak that goes back to the start of December

Jose Mourinho has certainly added fuel to the fire ahead of the clash claiming that Utd are a bigger club than rivals Liverpool and he is confident his side can continue their winning ways.

Liverpool will be without top scorer Sadio Mane as he is also away at the African nations but that is were the bad news end for Liverpool as Captain Jordan Henderson is back fit, as is central defender Joel Matip. However the biggest boost will be the return of their “magician” Phillip Coutinho who played half an hour during the week following 10 weeks out with a foot injury.

 

Liverpool have been flying this season and find themselves in 2nd place 5 points off Chelsea. Despite their league position The Reds may have hit a bit of a blip recently, drawing with relegation fighters Sunderland in the league then a disappointing draw in the F.A Cup last weekend against Plymouth and a 1-0 defeat in midweek in the semi Final of the EFL Cup to Southampton.

Jurgen Klopp has insisted this is the game the world will be watching. The German says he is unconcerned with Man Utd’s current streak but has conceded it is a much improved side that visited Anfield earlier in the campaign.

The teams drew 0-0 back in October and both sets of fans will be hopeful of more goal mouth action this time around.

In this one I have to let my head rule my heart. I think Utd are a good bet at home to take the 3 points, they can be backed @6/5 with a lot of the firms. The draw is @12/5 with lots of the firms and Liverpool @14/5 with various.

Zlatan to score first is @4/1 with most firms or if you fancy Coutinho you can get as big as @10/1 to bag the first with a few of the firms. If you fancy another 0-0 draw it can be backed @10/1 with William Hill.

If I could bring myself to back Man Utd to beat Liverpool then my money would be on a Manchester double but I can’t so I will be betting on Liverpool and Everton because I am a scouser and I like losing money.

Enjoy the games, whoever your supporting.

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