Manchester City will be hosting defending Premier League champions Liverpool on Sunday. They have a striker returning to the fold and we will have to wait and see how that affects Pep Guardiola’s team selection.
City come into this game on the back of a three-match winning streak. Sunday’s game is without a doubt one of the toughest they will have in the entire season. Beating the champions will send a statement to the other teams that the Sky Blues mean business. (For the Liverpool team news and starting XI prediction go here)
There is some positive news on the injury front with the return of Gabriel Jesus. This will allow City to field a recognised centre forward. But they will still be without Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho.
In goal, it will be the Brazilian Ederson, whose passing will be crucial in City recycling possession. In the 4-3-3 formation that we will be seeing, there will be major changes made in the defence.
Both Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte will return to the starting eleven in place of John Stones and Nathan Ake. Joao Cancelo, who came on as a substitute in the Champions League, will be the starting left back this time round.
As for the midfield, Kevin De Bruyne will once again be tasked with leading the team and providing some direction to the way City play. The players who will be on the bench for Liverpool will be Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden. Rodri and Bernardo Silva will come in for them. The latter will give City more control on the ball which will be needed to break down the Reds’ defence.
Though Ferran Torres has been impressive playing as the centre forward, it is time for Gabriel Jesus to return to the team.
He will offer more of a physical presence that will help Manchester City trouble the Liverpool defence. Along on the flanks with him will be Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez.
These three will be raring to go against a team that will be without Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho. Their combination is one aspect that Guardiola will want to work.
If it does, the three points will likely remain at the Etihad.
Predicted Manchester City Starting XI Against Liverpool (4-3-3):
Ederson, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling