Premier League leaders Liverpool and reigning champions Manchester City meet on Thursday at the Etihad Stadium, with plenty to play for in the title race.
The Reds have moved seven points clear of City with a nine-match winning run while City have lost three of their last five, meaning Pep Guardiola’s side will need a win to boost their hopes of retaining the prize.
Here, Football Paradise takes a look at what the statistics say about the high-profile clash.
Unstoppable forces, immovable objects
City’s league-leading attack meets the Premier League’s best defence this season, while the units rated second in each category face off at Ederson’s end of the pitch.
Liverpool have conceded only eight goals in their 20 league games to date – half as many as City, their closest challengers along with Chelsea. They lead the way with 12 clean sheets and have yet to concede more than one in a match.
That is despite facing more shots on target than City, 54 to 51. The impressive Alisson Becker has averaged 2.3 saves per match, compared to City goalkeeper Ederson’s 1.8.
They must contain City’s 54-goal attack, with Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling on nine goals apiece and six City players having scored five or more.
Liverpool’s 13-goal talisman Mohamed Salah provides the main threat to City’s miserly defence, who have eight clean sheets in the league but 13 in all competitions.
The latter figure is just one fewer than the Reds but includes a cup tie against League One Oxford and both Champions League games against Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as an extra game in the form of the Community Shield.
Pick of 2018
It is no shock the two teams were the top performers in 2018’s league action, but the surprise comes from seeing them level on points for the calendar year.
City won the 2017-18 title by 19 points from second-placed Manchester United, with Liverpool 25 off the pace in fourth.
The Reds, though, won 10 of their 17 league games after the turn of the year and have taken 54 points from a possible 60 this season to match City’s haul of 88 in 2018 – City hold sway on goal difference by a margin of six.
Both teams won an average of 2.38 points in each of their 37 games, with Tottenham the only other team in England’s top four divisions to surpass two points per game (2.24).
United averaged 1.95 while Luton, with 1.91, were the top-performing team outside the top flight. Accrington, Chelsea, Lincoln, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa rounded out the top 10, with Portsmouth missing out on goal difference.