Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva betters upcoming Manchester City opponent Fernandinho in five key areas

Etihad Stadium

Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Manchester City resume their bid to regain the Premier League title as they take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in a fascinating encounter at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

City head into the encounter perched at the top of the table, having won eight and drawn two of their 12 games thus far, a decent return following a tricky run of games.

Liverpool suffered their first defeat in all competitions under new boss Jurgen Klopp two weeks ago, losing at home to an ever-improving Crystal Palace side 2-1 at Anfield.

Saturday’s encounter is set up to be a full-blooded affair with plenty of energy and effort on show, with midfielders Fernandinho and Lucas Leiva very much expected to be in the thick of the action.

  Tackles per GameInterceptions per GameEffective Clearances per GameDef Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAccurate Passes per GameKey Passes per GameAppearances
Lucas Leiva 3.9 2 0.7 8.7 8 54.8 1.1 10
Fernandinho 2.5 1.75 1.17 6.25 5 58.92 1.08 12

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, both players contribute greatly as holding midfielders, but Liverpool’s best player under Klopp – Leiva - edges the pre-match head-to-head.

The former Gremio man outshines his upcoming opponent in five key areas, averaging more tackles, interceptions, defensive duels won, ball recoveries and key passes per league encounter.

Leiva has always been an underrated figure among Premier League observers, and some could argue that former boss Brendan Rodgers failed to properly utilise his evident qualities on a number of occasions.

Fellow Brazil international Fernandinho has regained his form following a tough period last season, and his average of 58.92 passes per match illustrates his importance for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

City will no doubt start the encounter as favourites, yet Klopp’s team shouldn’t be underestimated as they still boast plenty of quality and will look to hit the hosts on the counter.

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