As the 2 main protagonists of the title race that kept the footballing world glued till the very last game take each other on in this early season fixture, either sets of fans don’t expect their sides to be in full throttle mode yet. Manchester City and Liverpool have played out some real classics in their past few encounters. Manuel Pelligrini’s defending champions Manchester City take on Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool sans Luis Suarez as they keep up the pace with early season leaders Spurs, Chelsea and Swansea. With the game set in foreground of imminent transfer of former Manchester City star Mario Balotelli from AC Milan to Liverpool, the closely-contested fixture has got that little bit of added spice that promises this game to be one not to miss.
A 2-0 win over hard-working Newcastle barely reflects the intensity and tempo at which the game was played at St. James’ Park on the opening day of the current season. Blessed with a plethora of stars and arguably the strongest bench, Pelligrini will have a nearly fit squad to pick from. Barring Alvaro Negredo who is still recovering from a broken metatarsal, Pelligrini has a nearly fit squad. With Joe Hart firmly establishing himself in the City goal ahead of Willy Caballero, Pelligrini will most likely continue playing 2 left-backs with Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichellis in the heart of defence.
The newly formed partnership between Fernando and Yaya Toure showed early signs of promise against an impressive Newcastle side. The Chilean Pellgrini is spoilt for choice in attack with Sergio Aguero back to full fitness before this fixture. Arguably, the strongest squad in the country – it will be interesting to see how Pelligrini defends his title with the luxuries that the stars of City afford him.
A nervy beginning to the post Luis Suarez era saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool narrowly beat Southampton 2-1 at home after having raided the backbone of the very same side in the summer transfer window. Despite conceding the equaliser to Southampton, the Reds defence looked far more resilient and tougher than last season. With Dejan Lovren marshalling the Reds back-four, Rodgers’ will be hoping that his team will cut down drastically on the 50 goals they let in last season cutting down Liverpool’s betting odds drastically.
With Lucas having borne the brunt of the critics for a lacklustre performance against the Saints, its likely that the Reds boss will either have Joe Allen or Emre Can in place of the Brazilian in the midfield alongside Steven Gerrard. New signing Alberto Moreno was also included in the squad along with Lazar Markovic. While the exciting Lazar Markovic is expected to be on the bench, Moreno will most probably take his place on the left side of the Reds defence. Mario Balotelli is ineligible for this fixture after not having completed paperwork in time, which means Daniel Sturridge will lead the line against City. A very early fixture between 2 top teams that might have effects on the title-race eventually, this has to be a good one.
Manchester City – Hart; Clichy – Kompany – Demichellis – Kolarov; Fernando – Yaya Toure; Silva – Jovetic – Nasri; Aguero.
Liverpool – Mignolet; Manquillo – Skrtel – Lovren – Moreno; Henderson – Gerrard – Allen; Coutinho – Sterling ; Sturridge.
Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool