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League Cup

  • January 11, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 36017
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League Cup Preview: Manchester City v Liverpool

League Cup Preview: Manchester City v Liverpool

Roberto Mancini - Manchester City

After a contrasting weekend for the two sides, more cup football heads their way, with Kenny Dalglish's team hoping for some revenge for last week's 3-0 league loss at the Etihad


PROBABLE LINEUPS

MANCHESTER CITY

Hart
Zabaleta, Savic, Lescott, Clichy
De Jong, Barry
Milner, Silva, Johnson
Balotelli

LIVERPOOL

Reina
Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
Spearing, Adam
Henderson, Gerrard, Bellamy
Carroll

Roberto Mancini has been given a further selection headache following the dismissal of defender Vincent Kompany in their FA Cup loss with rivals Manchester United on Sunday, with the Belgian currently banned for four games.

City have lodged an appeal, but the chances of them having the decision overturned is unlikely and with fellow defender Kolo Toure on duty with Cote d'Ivoire, Mancini will most likely be forced to bring in youngster Stefan Savic.

Kolo’s brother Yaya Toure is also participating in the Africa Cup of Nations and he should be replaced by Gareth Barry, who didn’t see any game time at the weekend as he served his suspension for his red card picked up in the 3-0 league win over Liverpool. Sergio Aguero could be rested for the midweek League Cup tie, which could see Mario Balotelli return to the starting XI, with Edin Dzeko having picked up a knee problem that is expected to keep him out until next week.

The visitors to the Etihad Stadium have no fresh injury worries, but will have striker Luis Suarez miss the third of his eight-match ban, leaving Andy Carroll to step into the Uruguayan’s boots after a good cameo showing against Oldham on Friday evening.

Stewart Downing’s weekend escapades may have manager Kenny Dalglish believing the former Villa man not to be in the right frame of mind to feature, allowing Jordan Henderson the possibly of a place in the starting line-up.



DID YOU KNOW?
  • Manchester City could be League Cup finalists for the fourth time if they dispose of Liverpool. Their previous three appearences were in the 1970s, winning twice (’70 and ’76) and runners-up once (’74). This is the Blues’ sixth semi-final.
  • Wednesday’s visitors hold a host of records in the competition, including most tournament wins (seven), most appearances in the final (10) and biggest win (10-0 against Fulham in 1983).
  • The competition was founded over 50 years ago. It originally begun in 1960, thanks mainly to the clubs of the Football League setting up floodlights in their grounds, allowing for midweek evening fixtures.
  • Liverpool were the last side to win the tournament before it took on a sponsor in 1981, with backer Dairy Crest coming in and the competition becoming The Milk Cup.
  • Current Reds boss Kenny Dalglish (pictured right) shares the record for most appearances in the final for an individual, playing in five, the same amount as fellow Liverpool legend Ian Rush.
  • This is Liverpool’s 13th semi-final and they have succeeded in seven first legs at this stage.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
2Micah RichardsDefender
6Joleon LescottDefender
15Stefan SavicDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
7James MilnerMidfielder
18Gareth BarryMidfielder
34Nigel De JongMidfielder
11Adam JohnsonMidfielder
16Sergio AgüeroStriker
45Mario BalotelliStriker
30Costel PantilimonGoalkeeper
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
15Nedum OnuohaDefender
8Samir NasriMidfielder
20Owen HargreavesMidfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
25Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
34Martin KellyDefender
37Martin SkrtelDefender
5Daniel AggerDefender
2Glen JohnsonDefender
19Stewart DowningMidfielder
20Jay SpearingMidfielder
14Jordan HendersonMidfielder
8Steven GerrardMidfielder
39Craig BellamyStriker
9Andy CarrollStriker
32DoniGoalkeeper
3José EnriqueDefender
16Sebastián CoatesDefender
23Jamie CarragherDefender
16Charlie AdamMidfielder
8Jonjo ShelveyMidfielder
-Dirk KuytStriker
Players to Watch
Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
1 1 0 0
The winger has scored five times in 14 league appearances and assisting in a further three goals for his team.

His sheer momentum down the flanks could be a particular danger for the Reds, who lack any real speed out wide in midfield without Downing, who might not feature. The England international will give Liverpool's two full-backs an awful lot to think about as he often likes to switch flanks.

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 8
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The return of the club captain has had a massive impact on the Reds, allowing them to flow in the middle of the park, while his experience and influence cannot be understated for a team full of youth.

The veteran’s accuracy with the ball will help Liverpool push forward and will aid in creating chances for his full duration on the pitch.

Prediction
Although losing comprehensively last Tuesday to City in the league, Liverpool will no doubt take positives from the game in which they found themselves with a decent amount of the ball, especially in the second half. The Reds’ 5-1 win in the FA Cup on Friday will also give them a confidence boost in front of goal.

Mancini’s side will still be hurting from their Sunday afternoon defeat to Manchester United and will be the less rested side. City still have enough power in reserve though to push Liverpool all the way, but a chance to get to Wembley and book a place in Europe should galvanise Dalglish's men and they will not go down easily and will look to head back to Anfield for the second leg with a good result.

Editor's Prediction

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