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Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Etihad Stadium

04/01/2012

8pm

On Sky

City Lock Horns With Liverpool

First against sixth doesn't sound such a closely contested affair, but one look at the table will tell you a different story. (1-6 sounds familiar?)

Liverpool are in the hunt for one of the four Champions League slots available, a competition they have failed to compete in for the last few years.

Their downfall has coincided with City's meteoric ascension, a huge reversal of fortunes that would have been unthinkable barely half a decade ago.

Whilst sitting pretty at the tables summit, a catastrophic last second loss to Sunderland 48 hours earlier tells you that there are no 'invincibles' in this day and age. Although City can now compete at the top table on the field and off of it, their inexperience chasing titles is beginning to tell.

Can Kenny Dalglish's side capitalise on City's slip-ups and strike them while their down?

Vital Quotes:

Roberto Mancini reflected on the loss against Sunderland, as well as focusing on the tough game against Liverpool tonight, stating: "I hope the players went home very disappointed on Monday evening - as I did - and want to put things right against Liverpool,"

'I will make more changes against Liverpool. We have a talented squad and some choices in some positions. They are all top players.

"We have to make our home advantage count in this game. We have done well at home so far this season and we must keep putting points on our total.'

Manchester City Team News:

Roberto Mancini is likely to drop a considerable few from the dismal defeat at the Stadium of Light just two days ago.

James Milner may possibly be drafted back in, whilst Sergio Aguero is almost definately going to be reinstated up-front following Edin Dzeko's blunt performance.

Player to watch: Sergio Aguero

An unsuccessful cameo against Sunderland will spur City's diminutive Argentine on to perform great things in front of a vivacious home crowd.

Aguero's excellent reading of the game and lightning pace will be needed to its full effect to expolit Liverpool's back four.

Liverpool Team News:

The big news this evening is that Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will begin his 8 match ban following the FA's punishment for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Elsewhere, Lucas misses out but Steven Gerrard looks like he will be a big part of Kenny Dalglish's plans tonight.

Player to watch: Steven Gerrard

With Suarez missing and having only just come back from injury, Gerrard will be itching to prove a point and get a massive win for his side.

With limited options up front, the attacking burden will fall on the shoulders of the Liverpool captain and in these sorts of situations, the England midfielder will thrive.

Match Facts & Stats

City's 3-0 victory over Liverpool last season is their only win in 13 games against the Merseysiders.

The Blues have won nine out of nine of their Premier League games at home this season, with an average of over three goals per game.

Match Prediction:

More often than not, a City victory has become more predictable than a Dr. Who storyline. Of late, this inevitability was waned somewhat and City fans will be wondering when the goals are going to start flowing again. The Citizens desperately need 3 points if they are to maintain their title challenge, but with a game only 48 hours earlier and against top opposition in Liverpool, the chances that Mancini can turn things around are slim. Although Suarez is missing, I think City's desperation to win will cause them to leave enough gaps for Liverpool to exploit. Manchester City 0-1 Liverpool.

Next Fixtures:

FA Cup: Home againt Manchester United on Sunday 8th January @ 1pm.


The journalist

Writer: Lincolnsmariner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 3 2012

Time: 7:37PM

 

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