Pep Guardiola has made three changes for Manchester City’s top of the table clash with Liverpool.
Kyle Walker returns after missing the midweek win over Atletico Madrid due to suspension, with Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus also coming into the side after appearances off the bench against the Spanish outfit.
Nathan Ake, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez are the players to make way, with all three dropping to the bench as Guardiola selects what is close to a full-strength squad for the Reds visit to the Etihad.
There’s no place for Ruben Dias and Cole Palmer who remain sidelined by injury, which means John Stones again partners Aymeric Laporte at the heart of defence.
CITY: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, De Bruyne (C), Bernardo, Jesus, Foden, Sterling.
SUBS: Steffen, Ake, Gundogan, Grealish, Zichenko, Fernandinho, Mahrez, McAtee, Lavia.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Jota, Mane.
SUBS: Konate, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Gomez, Jones, Tsimikas, Diaz, Kelleher.
The players selected suggest Guardiola has opted for his preferred 4-3-3 formation against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
As always, we’ll need to wait until kick-off to find out how City shape up, but Walker will reprise his right-back role, with Cancelo moving over to the opposite flank where he has excelled in this season.
The centre-back pairing of Stones and Laporte will be protected by Rodrigo at the base of midfield, with captain Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva providing the creative inspiration in the engine room.
Jesus, Foden, and Raheem Sterling form what could well be an interchangeable front three.
AS BIG AS IT GETS
Quite simply, it doesn’t get any bigger than this in the Premier League.
Seven games remain after this, so it’s too early to describe today’s contest as a title decider, but it is impossible to ignore the significance.
Victory would send City four points clear going into the final furlong of the campaign.
Guardiola admitted he expects his side will have to defend in spells against a side boasting an incredible amount of firepower, so the return of one of his most trusted lieutenants in Walker is a welcome boost.
Of course, we carry a significant attacking threat of our own and the Catalan will be hoping Foden can replicate his wonderful display at Anfield in October following a brilliant cameo off the bench in midweek.
A win today would bring up number 250 for Guardiola at City and what a game to get it in.
Stats and facts
- City have lost just one of our last 12 Premier League home games against Liverpool (W7 D4), going down 4-1 in Jürgen Klopp’s first visit to the Etihad in the competition in November 2015.
- Liverpool are winless in four Premier League games against Manchester City (D2, L2).
- The Reds have not kept a clean sheet in any of their past 11 league matches at Etihad.
- We have won eight of our past nine home league matches, with the exception a 3-2 defeat by Tottenham on 19 February.
- Guardiola’s side have kept 18 top-flight clean sheets in the current campaign, a figure matched only by Liverpool.
- Phil Foden has scored in each of his past three appearances against Liverpool – the only player to net in four successive top-flight games against the Reds is Jamie Vardy, who did so in five consecutive fixtures between 2016 and 2017.
- Riyad Mahrez is aiming to become the third City player to score in six consecutive Premier League home games, after Uwe Rosler in 1994 and Alvaro Negredo in 2013.
- Liverpool have won each of their past 10 league games, keeping eight clean sheets in the process.
- They are on a club record run of eight consecutive away wins in all competitions.
CITYZENS: SCORE PREDICTOR – Score Predictor _City v Liverpool_all
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism