Statistics have revealed that Manchester City and Liverpool both picked up the same number of Premier League points in 2018, with the former topping the year's league table on goal difference.
The Citizens strolled to the league title last season, as Pep Guardiola's swashbuckling brand of football saw the club bulldoze their way past the opposition to a 100-point-grabbing triumph. This season, however, there's a new sheriff in town, with Jürgen Klopp's gunslinging Reds galavanting to the top of the table - where they currently sit seven points ahead of City.
According to data provided Opta, the two Premier League titans have matched each other over the course of the year, with the Citizens edging their rivals by six on goal difference. In total, Guardiola's side netted on 99 occasions in 2018, to Liverpool's 84. However - and who'd have believed this last year - the Reds have conceded fewer; 22 to City's 31.
With big money behemoth Virgil van Dijk operating as a solid granite blockade at the heart of Liverpool's defence, they've only conceded eight goals in 20 matches this season. The transformation in the Reds' play has been exceptional, with Klopp transforming from a heart-over-head, tactically naive operator into a shrewd, calculating football wizard.
|7th||West Ham United||51|
|14th||Brighton & Hove Albion||43|
|21st||West Bromwich Albion||15|
Conversely, City have already managed to exceed their number of losses (2) from last season, succumbing to three defeats in quick succession in the 2018/19 campaign. Thursday's crunch clash between the two sides will no doubt be a landmark moment in the season, and an ideal way to kick off 2019.
In other news, City are believed to be sweating over the fitness of Fernandinho ahead of Thursday's big game, after the veteran midfielder was scythed down by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg in Sunday's 3-1 win over Southampton. The 33-year-old had only just recovered from injury, and is now a doubt for the massive match at the Etihad Stadium.