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Liverpool v Man City: Why Premier League title rivals are 'near perfect'

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Liverpool and Manchester City are set to renew their rivalry this weekend as the champions of Europe and the champions of England meet at Anfield. League leaders Liverpool are six points ahead of their north-west rivals but both sides have elevated themselves to a state of "near perfection" in recent years.Are we set for the highest-quality Premier League game ever[/img]

Perfection
For an hour or so last Saturday it looked like both Liverpool and Manchester City were going to lose. The last time that happened on the same Premier League weekend, let alone the same day, was December 2016.The two clubs have since elevated themselves to a new plateau, one where dropping points is no longer an option. In the world of the sub-two-hour marathon, the Premier League is now a nine-month sprint. Part of the anticipation about this weekend's fixture is that we are firmly in the midst of a genuine duopoly at the top of the table, something that harks back to some of the greatest periods in the history of the competition.
We cannot carry on like this - Klopp
Liverpool beat Genk to go top of group
From Manchester United's battles with Newcastle and Arsenal in the 1990s to Jose Mourinho's ultimately successful attempt to dethrone Arsenal's Invincibles in the 2000s, two club mini-rivalries have lit up the league. Many of the early duopolies live on in our hearts because of the mind games they inspired.bbc.com
Perfection Part II
If you're going to be as consistent as City and Liverpool have been then the numbers should back you up. And they do. The three highest pass-completion rates recorded in Premier League history are 89% by Manchester City in 2017-18, 89% by Manchester City in 2018-19 and 89% by Manchester City in 2019-20, while the four highest average possession rates in Premier League history are the four seasons City have spent under Pep Guardiola. The country, meanwhile, is about to embark on its second general election since Liverpool last lost a league game at Anfield. In reverse order, the visiting managers to win there in the Klopp era are Sam Allardyce, Paul Clement, Louis van Gaal and Alan Pardew. That doesn't just seem like a long time ago, it feels like another dimension. The German's mentality men continue to run through concrete walls and heave out wins in the face of certain defeat.Since the start of last season, Liverpool have claimed 26 points from losing positions, more than 10% of the division's total in that period. The greatest trick the Reds ever pulled was convincing people that Manchester United are the masters of the late-goal comeback when the truth was staring us in the face all along.
Perfection Part III
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/3544/production/_109563631_optajoe_2.png-final.png" data-sizes="auto" alt="Liverpool's Possession Value">
So we've seen the outcome of Liverpool and Manchester City's near-perfection but who are the players making the difference[/img]

[img]http://www.bbc.co.uk/data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP//yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7[/img]

Coastal news
For those looking for an update on the percentage of his Premier League goals Mane has scored within two miles of the English coast, he is currently on 82%, keeping him well ahead of any other regular scorer in the competition's history. For the first time, though, I can reveal who the least effective players near the coast are. For men with 70 or more goals (like Mane), it's a French pairing of Eric Cantona (4.3%) and Thierry Henry (4.6%). A relaxing evening on the Riviera, yes. A working afternoon near the grey shores of England, no. Finally, a word on Jason Euell, who, of all players with 50 or more Premier League goals, has scored the lowest proportion of them near the coast (1.8%). Euell even ended his top-flight career with Middlesbrough and Blackpool, perhaps in the hope he could achieve shoreline glory, but instead failed to make waves and score for either club.
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