Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview
Manchester City are set to take on Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, it will be the first game back since the World Cup finished just a few days ago. Kick off is set for 8pm GMT.
It is not going to be an easy selection this time for Pep Guardiola. Earlier this week the Spaniard admitted to only having four or five first team players available due to the defending champions sending 16 first team players to the World Cup. While Guardiola has received some reinforcements since, Manchester City will be at a severe disadvantage for the next few games.
This was apparent in the friendly against Girona early this week, which saw Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez start alongsise a group of youth and reserve players.
It appears as though Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri have returned this week. Normally players returning late causes fears around fitness and form, but Guardiola believes this players will benefit from returning from the tournament.
“The players at the World Cup are in better condition than the ones that were here. Sergio [Gomez], Erling [Haaland], Riyad [Mahrez], Cole [Palmer] are missing a little bit. They competed every day and we had holidays. That’s why it's so important to maintain the rhythm.”
However, their will be a massive contingent of the squad not quite ready to return. With Ederson, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, John Stones, João Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden, and obviously Julian Alvarez not back in training, it will cause a selection headache for the next few games.
Stefan Ortega will get the nod in goal, the new keeper was looked excellent in his limited playtime so far this year.
With no Cancelo or Walker back yet, I expect to see Rico Lewis get another 90 minutes at right back, with this being a further test of his abilities. Sergio Gomez might not get a full game for a little while after some of his defensive errors so I see Pep returning to the three center back system. I expect Laporte and Akanji at the back, with Ake flanking on the left.
In midfield I think Rodri slots in to the six, with De Bruyne and Gundogan alongside. With Haaland up front, with Mahrez to his right and Cole Palmer being forced to play on his weaker left side.
It’s been a turbulent season so far for Liverpool. Despite nearly grabbing the quadruple last season, the Reds have looked a mess at the back and have yet to find a bonafide replacement for Sadio Mane.
However, Liverpool have the advantage of not sending as many first team members to the World Cup. While the majority of Manchester City’s squad is recovering from the tournament, their opposition has held friendlies against Lyon and Milan to keep their legs fresh.
Based on some prematch quotes from Pep Lijnders, it appears as though Joel Matip and Naby Kieta are available to play, while Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota aren’t quite fully fit yet and will join Luis Dias on the bench as the trio recover from injuries.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and Fabinho have all been spotted back in training and may be ready to compete tomorrow as well. Liverpool will have a majority of their first time squad back for tomorrows contest, giving them a clear advantage.
Head to Head
Until recently it had appeared as though Pep has figured Klopp out, with City oftentimes looking the better side, but not getting the desired result over the past three seasons.
But Liverpool have gotten the better of City in their last three consecutive meetings. Two of the wins have come against rotated sides in cup competitions, but Liverpool were able to grab a late win earlier this season at Anfield.
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Nick Hopton and Timothy Wood
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
David Coote is a relatively new Premier League referee, with only a few years experience at the top level of English football. He has only officiated over two Manchester City games, the 1-0 away win at Brentford last season and the 1-0 away win at Sheffield United two years ago.
Fans may recognize his name as he was the VAR official during the Merseyside Derby two years ago when an awkward Jordan Pickford tackle injured Virgil Van Dijk. It will be the second time Coote has referred a Liverpool match since then.
Written by: @IVIeehan
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