Former Arsenal player, Paul Merson has predicted Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 3-1 when both teams clash in the Premier League on Thursday night at the Etihad Stadium
He also tipped Manchester United to beat Newcastle United 3-1 in the Premier League fixture on Wednesday night.
Merson, however, predicted Chelsea to beat Southampton 3-0 in tonight’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
“This might sound silly, but I’d be shocked if Manchester City won this game. I’d be shocked. I just can’t see how they can stop Liverpool from scoring goals. As the game goes on, I just don’t see how Liverpool don’t go on to win it,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“My only question of Liverpool would be how they play it. Do they go out and think that if they draw they’ve probably taken Manchester City out of the equation? Or do they go for the jugular and win the Premier League on Thursday night?”
Merson continued: “If Liverpool lose the game, it’s majorly game on because it’s about how they react after, too, and they wouldn’t be invincible any more, they wouldn’t be quite as good as they thought they were. But I can’t see them not getting anything.
“City look all over the place at the back. I don’t really see their shape. They’re great on the ball, but they close down quickly for so long and then drop off and if they do that against Liverpool and they get through one line, they’ve got too much pace for City to deal with.
“As the game goes on, City get more open and they’ve struggled with clean sheets recently. Even when they’re 1-0 up and cruising against Southampton, and it’s a walk in the park, Charlie Austin’s through one-on-one and that could change it. They could have had a penalty against them too, I’ve seen lesser penalties given. Prediction is Man City 1, Liverpool 3”.
Commenting on the Chelsea vs Southampton game, Merson said: “I thought Southampton did well at times against Manchester City to get back into the game, but it could have been eight before that.
“There’s a reality check at Southampton. There’s not too many players in their team who would get in other teams. They’re in a relegation battle. They had the new manager syndrome, beat Arsenal and Huddersfield – but since then it’s not been good.
“Watching Chelsea against Palace, there was no rush, no panic, no urgency, but it was a good result because Palace isn’t the easiest place to go. Watching United and Liverpool at the moment though, winning 1-0 doesn’t look that good, even when it is. I think they’ll probably go for Callum Wilson in January, but Bournemouth’s squad is so shallow at the moment that it’d be difficult to let him go. Prediction is Chelsea 3, Southampton 0”.
On the Newcastle vs Man United game, Merson said: “We’re watching Manchester United again.
“I don’t think they were that fussed before. To turn it on like they do now, Paul Pogba’s scoring goals in the six-yard box – I’ve not seen him in there since the start of the season. Is the manager saying don’t do that? Jose Mourinho’s one of the best managers in the world, surely you don’t tell a player not to play.
“They’ve got freedom, Nemanja Matic has passed the ball forward more times in the last three games than I’ve seen him do even when he was at Chelsea. Everyone’s willing to make runs without the ball and it’s refreshing.
“Newcastle will put 10 behind the ball, it’s as simple as that, they’ll try to play for a 0-0 and a set play. If they open the game up, I dread to think what the score will be.
“Bournemouth played high against United, but Cardiff sat back and they still played great football – they’ve got runners and when you do that, it’s a threat and they’ve got major pace. Prediction is Newcastle 1, Man United 3.”