After a comfortable 3-0 victory over Hull City in the previous round, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are finally finding some consistency and are now on the back of three consecutive victories. However, they will face their toughest task yet as Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are ready to take them on the last day of 2016. Both teams have been superb at times this season while also showing some serious weaknesses and this game is sure to bring out the best and the worst in both the sides. It has been a high scoring game every time these clubs have met recently and we can expect a similar game on the night at Anfield. Here is the predicted lineup that Guardiola might field for this game:
The manager will be happy as he can now go back to Sergio Aguero, who is available for selection after serving a ban for his antics against Chelsea. Vincent Kompany remains sidelined while Fabian Delph and Ilkay Gundogan are both long-term absentees. John Stones picked up a knock in the game against Hull and will undergo a late test to prove his fitness.
Though not the best in the league, Bravo, is a decent keeper who is slowly finding his feet in England. However, he should be wary about his ball distribution as Liverpool’s roadrunners could snatch the ball in a blink of an eye.
The experienced full-back has been decent in recent games for City and Guardiola will hope that he can use him effectively in this game.
Otamendi has done a decent job at the back for City in the absence of Kompany but he will face a tough test against a well-drilled attack from Liverpool.
Arguably the most consistent defenders for City this season. He should partner alongside Otamendi as Stones will miss the game. The full-back, to everyone’s surprise, has performed well as a central defender.
A good left-back on his day, but has his weakness when facing pacey wingers. The Frenchman has to be on his toes for the entire match or things could go very wrong for the visitors.
The Brazilian midfielder has been the best City outfield player and one of the best in the league in his position.
It’s good to see the beast midfielder playing in the middle of the park once again. Toure has been a regular starter for City off late and should continue to feature in the starting XI. He alongside Fernandinho will be the most crucial players for the visiting team if they are to salvage something from the game.
The Spaniard has been unplayable in the last couple of games as he has evolved and adapting to Guardiola’s requirements.
Kevin de Bruyne:
The Belgian has also been in sublime form this season and will be a big threat for Liverpool in this game at Anfield.
Coming back to Anfield for just the second time since his move to the Etihad, Sterling, will be under a lot of pressure. However, the youngster has what it takes to outshine some of the best defenders in the league.
Just coming back from a long suspension, Aguero, will be fit and ready to go and will be the biggest threat for Liverpool.