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How Man City and Liverpool compare to the last time they fought for the title

The Premier League’s top two have renewed their rivalry from the 2018-19 season.

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Manchester City came out on top in 2018-19’s epic Premier League title battle with Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City came out on top in 2018-19’s epic Premier League title battle with Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City came out on top in 2018-19’s epic Premier League title battle with Liverpool (Nick Potts/PA)

Manchester City’s clash with Liverpool on Sunday will go a long way to shaping the repeat of their unforgettable title fight three years ago.

Hosts City go into the game on 73 points, one ahead of Liverpool having played 30 games.

At the same stage in 2018-19, each team were a solitary point better off than they are this time around and here, the PA news agency looks at how their dominant season this time around compares.

Perfect run-in

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This season’s title run-in has a familiar look (PA graphic)

This season’s title run-in has a familiar look (PA graphic)

This season’s title run-in has a familiar look (PA graphic)

Remarkably, both sides won all of their remaining eight games in 2019 as they finished on 98 and 97 points respectively, at the time the second- and third-highest Premier League totals.

Sunday’s meeting ensures that immaculate run-in cannot quite be replicated but City manager Pep Guardiola certainly saw the similarities after last Saturday’s win over Burnley.

“There are eight games left, 24 (points),” he said. “We have to feel the pressure. Every game, if we lose, we are not going to win (the title), simple as that.

“What we did in the past, when we won 14 games in a row, now we have to win eight otherwise we will not be champions.”

Having trailed by seven points at one stage that season, City won their final 14 games to edge out Jurgen Klopp’s Reds – who themselves finished with nine straight wins.

Liverpool are the team to have come from off the pace this season. They were briefly 14 points back after City’s win over Chelsea on January 15, but responded with victory over Brentford the following day and have won 10 in a row starting from that game.

That means should they win on Sunday and then fulfil Guardiola’s prophecy of not dropping a point the rest of the way, they would match the Premier League record of 18 straight wins.

The mark is shared by City and Liverpool in their respective title-winning seasons of 2017-18, when City produced the only 100-point Premier League season, and 2019-20 when Liverpool’s 99 established a new second-best mark.

Statistical sweep

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Liverpool have the only three Premier League players in double figures for assists this season (PA graphic)

Liverpool have the only three Premier League players in double figures for assists this season (PA graphic)

Liverpool have the only three Premier League players in double figures for assists this season (PA graphic)

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With a respective 14- and 13-point cushion over the field, albeit with Chelsea having a game in hand, it is no surprise to see City and Liverpool leading some of the Premier League statistics this season.

Reds forward Mohamed Salah is cruising towards his third Premier League Golden Boot with 20 goals, with Diogo Jota tied second on 14 and Sadio Mane one of three players on 12 – but the assists chart remarkably paints an even more dominant picture.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, with 11, is closing on his own record for a defender of 13 in 2019-20 – and fellow full-back Andy Robertson is just one behind along with Salah.

Gabriel Jesus, with seven, is City’s leader in that category – Kevin De Bruyne surprisingly has only three in the league this season but is tied with Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling on 10 goals, meaning Liverpool and City between them have six of the 12 players in double figures.

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Manchester City’s passing game is unrivalled (PA graphic)

Manchester City’s passing game is unrivalled (PA graphic)

Manchester City’s passing game is unrivalled (PA graphic)

City, as so often, rule the passing statistics – Joao Cancelo leads the league with 2,334 attempts, with Aymeric Laporte and Rodri making it a City top three. Ruben Dias ranks fifth, with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk breaking the stranglehold just ahead of him.

The teams also have the two lowest yellow card tallies in the league, 35 for City and 36 for Liverpool, and just one red each – Robertson against Tottenham and Laporte against Crystal Palace, with City’s Kyle Walker escaping thanks to VAR against Southampton.

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