Liverpool - Manchester City Preview: Reds look to bounce back from opening-day humbling
The reigning champions visit Anfield without last season's top scorer, Sergio Aguero, as they hunt down an eighth consecutive Premier League win and continue their title momentum
By Josh Clarke
Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique
Gerrard, Lucas, Allen
Borini, Suarez, Downing
Zabaleta, Lescott, Kompany, Clichy
Rodwell, Yaya Toure
Nasri, Tevez, Silva
Brendan Rodgers opted to rest several key figures for Thursday night's Europa League qualification clash against Hearts in anticipation for the visit of the Premier League champions.
Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson should all be recalled to the Reds’ starting XI. Jose Enrique could also be back in contention after missing the opening game of the season due to a knock sustained in training.
Daniel Agger serves a one-match suspension after his red card against West Brom, while both Andy Carroll and Joe Cole (hamstrings) are unlikely to feature.
Roberto Mancini will have to make do without the services of Sergio Aguero (knee) for a month after the striker was stretchered off last Sunday against Southampton. Mario Balotelli is likely to have recovered sufficiently from conjunctivitis to step in to partner Carlos Tevez up front.
Gareth Barry (hernia) and Micah Richards (ankle) continue to be absent for the visitors, meaning that Jack Rodwell should be able to build upon his debut last week, with another run out at Anfield.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Liverpool have not lost at home to Manchester City since May 2003, when Nicolas Anelka's late winner was enough to overcome Milan Baros' opener, on the Frenchman's return to Anfield.
- The Reds' 3-0 loss to West Brom last week was their worst ever opening to a Premier League campaign.
The last penalty Liverpool scored was Steven Gerrard's against City on January 25 earlier this year.
- If Jose Reina (right) starts as expected he will equal Graeme Souness and Alan Kennedy's appearance record of 359 for the club.
- After playing against Hearts midweek Joe Allen has now made 100 passes for Liverpool in two competitive appearances, with 96 of them finding their target.
- Manchester City have now won seven Premier League matches on the bounce.
- In between the years 2010 and 2012, Joe Hart is the top-flight goalkeeper who has kept the most clean sheets with 35. Liverpool's Reina is in second place, with 26.
- Liverpool turned down a £20m bid from City for central defender Daniel Agger this summer.
- The last game Roberto Mancini's side did not win was their 1-0 reverse at Emirates Stadium on April 8, a defeat that, at the time, looked like ending their hopes of sealing the Premier League title.
- Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez have started the season in form. Both the Frenchman and Argentine netted in City's Community Shield win over Chelsea and their opening victory against Southampton.
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Top 3 Predictions
Liverpool 2-1 Manchester City
- 20.19 %
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester City
- 9.76 %
Liverpool 1-3 Manchester City
- 9.73 %
|Premier League (EPL)||3 Feb 2013||Manchester City 2 - Liverpool 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Aug 2012||Liverpool 2 - Manchester City 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||25 Jan 2012||Liverpool 2 - Manchester City 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||11 Jan 2012||Manchester City 0 - Liverpool 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||3 Jan 2012||Manchester City 3 - Liverpool 0|
|15 Dec 2013||Tottenham 0 - Liverpool 5||EPL|
|7 Dec 2013||Liverpool 4 - West Ham 1||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Liverpool 5 - Norwich City 1||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Hull City 3 - Liverpool 1||EPL|
|23 Nov 2013||Everton 3 - Liverpool 3||EPL|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
The Uruguayan striker had a hat-full of chances to hand Liverpool the initiative in their opening day battering by West Brom, but was denied by a combination of wastefulness and Ben Foster's heroics.
However, the game emphatically showed that Suarez is central to his side’s attacking endeavours. Liverpool will once again look to the front man as the creative hub against City and, with a home crowd behind him, it’s likely he’ll rise to the occasion.
The loss of Sergio Aguero for the opening month of Manchester City’s Premier League title defence is a blow that Roberto Mancini could do without.
Though Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli will scrap it out to partner Tevez, the Argentine is likely to shoulder the main goalscoring responsibilities. The striker has come back from pre-season in as good a mental and physical state seen in years and after opening his league account against Southampton, will be keen to prove to any sceptics that he can have a lasting and positive effect on the side.
Though City looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back against Southampton, they more than proved their firepower up top. Liverpool will miss the stability afforded by Daniel Agger, particularly given the wealth of attacking options Roberto Mancini has at his disposal. Brendan Rodgers could do with a much easier game to get his Premier League campaign up and running, with City likely to dominate the hosts from the off in a physical battle.