Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday November 25 2005
City of Manchester Stadium
City host the European Champions in what is a second successive Saturday 3pm kick off at Eastlands. With Liverpool discovering their European form in the Premieship of late this promises to be a tough encounter. If City want to be seen as a team that can challenge for a top six spot however, it's a must win.
Stuart Pearce is hoping the visit of Liverpool will produce an improvement on City's last outing.
'We’re disappointed we didn’t get a result on Saturday from a home match, we’ve got another home match to put that right, and it’s Liverpool the European Champions. Victory against Liverpool at any time is a fantastic achievement, and I think to put another three points on the total come Saturday night then you look at the start to the season we’ve had, and it would probably put us in the top six again.'
Rafa Benitez meanwhile is looking to the city game as a measure of his team's recent improvement.
'The most important thing is how we have started to play better in more than one competition. But I want to see how we play at Manchester city.'
Joey Barton should return after suspension to replace Sun Jihai in the centre of midfield. Claudio Reyna is still missing after suffering a setback in the recovery of his ankle injury.
Forming a formidable partnership upfront with Darius Vassell.
Xabi Alonso seems likely to miss out although Luis Garcia may return.
He's yet to score for Liverpool .... will typical City kick in and present the big man with his first?
Although we have a poor record at Anfield our recent home form against Liverpool is not so bad. Last years fixture ended 1-0 to City, a last minute Masumpa winner, when Liverpool looked anything but European Champions to be.
Alan Wiley .... Third only to Graham Poll and Mike Riley in the anti City stakes. Loves the big clubs so expect plenty to go Liverpool's way.
Although a tough fixture to predict I fancy City to get back to winning ways. Liverpool had a tough champions league fixture in the week and tiredness may tell. City's defence has been first class, but so has Liverpool's, so I can't see a goal glut. A repeat of last season possibly, 1-0 to City.
04/12/05 Charlton (a)
10/12/05 WBA (a)
17/12/05 Birmingham (h)
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Date:Friday November 25 2005
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