Mark Lawrenson states his prediction for Man City v Liverpool FC

Mark Lawrenson is tipping Manchester City to beat Liverpool FC on Sunday afternoon

Liverpool FC boss Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool FC boss Jurgen Klopp (Photo: Darcy McKellar / LMA Handout)

Mark Lawrenson is backing Manchester City to secure a 2-0 win against Liverpool FC at The Etihad on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool FC’s makeshift defence will face their biggest test since losing Virgil van Dijk to a season-long injury last month when the Reds make the trip to Eastlands this weekend.

The Reds secured a morale-boosting 5-0 victory over Serie A side Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday night thanks to Diogo Jota’s first hat-trick for the Merseyside club.

Manchester City were 3-0 winners against FC Porto courtesy of goals from Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo at The Etihad.

Liverpool FC are sitting at the top of the Premier League table and a point ahead of Leicester City after a solid if unspectacular start to the 2020-21 season.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have passed their two biggest tests of the season so far, securing a 2-0 win at Chelsea FC and a 3-1 home victory over Arsenal.

However, Liverpool FC beat their direct rivals with Van Dijk at the back but the Dutch defender will miss the clash against the Citizens.

Manchester City have made an inconsistent start to the Premier League season following a return of 11 points from six games.

The Citizens lost 1-0 to Leicester at The Etihad in September before a 1-1 draw with Leeds United at Elland Road.

However, Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in their last eight games, securing six victories during that run.

BBC Sport pundit Lawrenson is backing Manchester City to beat Liverpool FC in their top of the table clash on Sunday.

“Liverpool boss Klopp has got decisions to make in defence and attack,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“Up front, I am a big fan of Roberto Firmino and what he does for the team but Diogo Jota has got the same work ethic and is scoring goals too – he is on fire at the moment.

“At the back, if Joel Matip is fit I would pair him with Joe Gomez. Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams have done well – against West Ham and Atalanta respectively – but this is a very different game, with far more pressure involved and against a much better side.

“Whoever Klopp goes with, it is not a good time for them to be going to the Etihad while they are trying to build a new partnership because any mistake they make will be pounced upon.

“That’s why I am going for City to win. Liverpool are going into this round of fixtures on top of the table so there is no suggestion they are struggling – it is just they are not at their very best at the moment.

“They are going to lose games and the title race is going to be tighter than last year, I have no doubts about that.

“Liverpool will still cause City problems on Sunday too, though. Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias have looked solid at the back so far, but they haven’t been properly tested yet.

“That will happen here – and it not just about the two centre-backs, it is the whole back four who get a workout when you play Liverpool. They come at you from all angles and if there is a weakness, they sniff it out.”

Manchester City were 5-0 winners against Liverpool FC in their most recent meeting at The Etihad.

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