The biggest game of the English premiershipfixtures took place on Monday evening, as last year's Premier Leaguechampions, Manchester City played hosts to the runners up and five times EuropeanCup champions, Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium. Both teams providedentertainment galore last term in scoring over a hundred league goals apiece.

Liverpool stumbled at the very end of a 38 match league season, just as itseemed that they would cast off their 24 year hoodoo, to allow Manchester Cityto claim their second title in three years.

The Reds are not as fancied for thetitle this year as their well financed opponents, given the"distraction" of Champions League involvement this time around, buthave still spent big in the shadow of the sale of their once mercurial strikerLuis Suarez.

The Mourinho 'factor' ensures that Chelsea are title favourites with thebookmakers, especially given their and striker Diego Costa's strong start butCity will not worry about that given the strong spine to the team that theyhave established. Hart (if selected), captain Kompany, midfield dynamo YayaToure and star striker Aguero (if fit to start) provide a solid base to workaround.

Add to that the reliableZabaleta at the back, the silky David Silva just behind the strikers and the forwardstrength of Dzeko at their disposal and it would be fallacy to bet against themretaining their title. They have ensured that their squad strength has beenmaintained in the close season by bringing in £32 million defender Mangala andFernando from Porto, with Sagna slipping in neatly at full back from Arsenal.Who would bet against Frank Lampard’s loan spell having an impact when calledupon to come into the team as well?

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Forward Negredo is a definite non starteragainst Liverpool as he is currently out of contention with a long term foot injury.

Liverpool, despite last season's "over achievements" remain a work inprogress, especially now that Suarez has left. They have bolstered their squadsignificantly and brought in some interesting talents such as (the currentlyinjured) Lallana from Southampton, whilst moving some experienced players onsuch as Pepe Reina and making contingency arrangements for the future inOrigi's purchase and immediate loan, in the light of the extra Europeanworkload.

Lovren and Moreno have been brought in with a view to strengtheningthe defence, an area that they had clear troubles with last time. Home grownLambert has been purchased to offer different striking options, along with the expectedarrival of the enigmatic Balotelli (although the transfer will not be concludedin time for the Man City match), but it would be a brave man indeed that wouldsuggest that they could match the Suarez haul from last season. Whatever the outcome, Liverpool will still have more points from their firsttwo fixtures than the corresponding fixtures last year.

Both the home match tothe Saints and the away fixture at City resulted in losses, so they are threepoints up already! 

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