Manchester City and Liverpool will do battle for the third time this season on Thursday night in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
It’s been over a month since either side played a competitive match, but both have been playing friendlies to prepare for their return to action.
In those games, Man City beat Girona 2-0 while Liverpool lost 3-1 to Lyon before winning 4-1 against AC Milan.
With their World Cup players returning though, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp will be able to field much stronger sides for their clash.
Man City vs Liverpool H2H Results (Last Five Games)Current Form (Last Five Games)
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Man City team news
A whopping 16 Man City players were called up to play in the World Cup, but a number of them are already back with the club with just one, Julian Alvarez, staying beyond the quarter-final in Qatar.
Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan were both knocked out in the group stages of the tournament and so were able to play in their team’s friendly against Girona along with Erling Haaland and Riyad Mahrez.
That being said, the five Man City players that played for England, the three that played for Portugal as well as Ederson have yet to return to training, while Nathan Ake, Rodri, Aymeric Laporte and Manuel Akanji have only just done so too.
Given that, it’s likely that Guardiola will field a number of youngsters against Liverpool along with a few first-team regulars.
Man City Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ortega; Lewis, Katongo, Laporte, Gomez; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Palmer; Mahrez, Haaland, Rogers.
Bench: Van Sas, Smith, Galvez, Samuel, McDonald, Alleyne, O’Reilly, Robertson, Borges.
Liverpool team news
Only seven of Liverpool’s squad travelled to Qatar for the World Cup, but five of them have already returned to the club, with only Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate yet to do so.
That being said, with a number of first-team players including Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino staying put for the past month, Klopp most likely won’t feel the need to rush anyone back.
The German will be able to field a strong team without using any of them, but could opt to give some younger players a chance.
Liverpool Starting 11 (4-3-3): Kelleher; Ramsay, Gomez, Matip, Tsimikas; Milner, Bajcetic, Elliott; Salah, Firmino, Carvalho.
Bench: Adrian, Davies, Phillips, Quansah, Robertson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Thiago, Nunez.
Both teams will be keen to return with a bang after spending a month on the sidelines, but Liverpool look perhaps more likely to do so.
That’s mainly because Klopp has more first-team players available to use than Guardiola, giving him a stronger squad on the whole and making his team favourites.
What’s more, he’s gotten the better of the Spaniard three times in a row now and will probably be placing greater importance on the Carabao Cup given Liverpool are unlikely to win the Premier League this season while Man City are still very much in contention.
All of that suggests the visitors will come out on top, although you can never rule out a side that features De Bruyne and Haaland.
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