Liverpool vs. Manchester City: City Preview, Team News and Starting XI

Ed Wyman@@edwymanCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2012

Liverpool vs. Manchester City: City Preview, Team News and Starting XI

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    Liverpool host Manchester City this weekend with the Premier League champions looking to put on a more assured display than they managed against newly promoted Southampton last week.

    Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool lost 3-0 last weekend against West Bromwich Albion and will be highly motivated to get their season up and running. There are few better ways to do just that than to beat the league's champions in front of a passionate Kop.

    Manchester City, therefore, should take nothing for granted when they face up against the Anfield club this Sunday.

    That doesn't change the fact that Manchester will be favourites heading into a match that will pitch one of English football's oldest giants against one of its newest. 

    So, here is a summary of Manchester City's team news heading into the game, as well as their starting lineup. 

Manchester City Team News

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    Manchester City will be without Sergio Aguero, last season's top scorer, after he suffered a knee injury against Southampton that, according to Manchester City's website, has ruled him out for the next month.

    Similarly, Manchester City have announced that Gareth Barry and Micah Richards are not yet ready to feature for the first team, so they will not be available for the trip to Anfield.

    Those three absences aside, City will be at full strength this weekend.

Liverpool Team News

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    Liverpool rested plenty of big name players for their 1-0 win over Hearts on Thursday night, but they will doubtless return for Sunday's clash. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Martin Skrtel didn't feature in the Europa League, which means they will be fresh for the match against Manchester City. 

    Daniel Agger was sent off against West Brom last weekend so the centre-back misses out due to the resulting suspension. 

    Jose Enrique didn't make the trip to Hearts as he hadn't recovered from a knee injury, so he may or may not feature against the Citizens.

    It remains to be seen whether Nuri Sahin will sign for Liverpool, and if he does, whether he does so in time to face Manchester City. 

GK Joe Hart

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    Joe Hart is a certainty to start for Manchester City this weekend. He is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league, and his saves have proved vital to City in the past.

    England's first-choice keeper recently stated that the minimum City need to achieve is one trophy a season, displaying the type of drive that engenders success.

LB Gael Clichy

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    Arsenal's former left-back got his season off to a good start against Southampton, providing the cross for Nasri's goal and generally making a nuisance of himself on the left flank. 

    At 27, Gael Clichy is very much in his prime and will be hoping that another successful season at Manchester City will help him to establish his reputation as one of Europe's top left-backs.

CB Vincent Kompany

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    Vincent Kompany had an immense season last time around for Manchester City and was even named as the Premier League's player of the season for 2011-12.

    City's captain will have an important job to conduct against Liverpool as he comes up against striker Luis Suarez. 

    Liverpool's Uruguayan striker is an expert at making a nuisance of himself, and Kompany will need to be on his toes at all times if he is to prevent the controversial striker from getting into goal-scoring positions.

CB Joleon Lescott

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    A patchy display by Joleon Lescott against Southampton last weekend will have to be improved upon if Manchester City are to be confident of their chances against Liverpool.

    Lescott has formed one of the soundest centre-back partnerships in the league with Vincent Kompany, and the 30-year-old's understanding with his defensive partner is an integral part of City's success. 

RB Pablo Zabaleta

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    With Micah Richards out injured, Pablo Zabaleta looks set to continue at right-back. The Argentine fared well against Southampton, starting plenty of attacking moves with his runs down the wing and did his job defensively as and when required.

    Micah Richards' injury is giving Zabaleta a chance to show that he deserves to be first choice in the right-back slot. A good performance against Liverpool would go some way to making that a more likely possibility.

DM Yaya Toure

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    Manchester City's engine room has been imperious for the club for the last two seasons, and this year isn't likely to be any different.

    The defensive midfielder's ball distribution will be important if City are to release their more attacking players, and his ability to break up play is vital to preventing Liverpool from even creating chances. 

    The former Barcelona man is a tireless worker and one to watch this Sunday. 

DM Jack Rodwell

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    Jack Rodwell got his Manchester City career off to a good start, gelling well with his new teammates and looking entirely comfortable alongside Yaya Toure.

    The former Everton man was signed for £12 million (per this BBC report), a price tag that means he has a lot to live up to. Rodwell spent a lot of last season out injured; he started just 11 Premier League games.

    That means that City have put a lot of faith in the England international, something Rodwell will doubtlessly be keen to repay.

    Being a former Everton man, Rodwell will be expecting a hostile reception at Anfield, which should provide him with just a little extra motivation. 

LM Samir Nasri

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    Samir Nasri was outstanding last weekend, grabbing a goal and an assist, and Liverpool are going to have to watch him carefully as he looks to extend his good start to the season.

    Whether it's cutting in from the wing, beating men with his pace or putting the ball into the box, Samir Nasri is a real danger man for Manchester City, and the champions need to ensure he is in the game as much as possible.

RM David Silva

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    David Silva may not yet have negotiated a new contract, but he remains one of Manchester City's main attacking threats. 

    The Spaniard had a near perfect 2011-12 season, but was at far from his best against Southampton. He missed his penalty and somehow managed to hit the bar from close range when scoring would have been easier.

    There is no denying Silva's quality, so it is only a matter of time before the former Valencia man rediscovers the type of form that saw him grab 15 Premier League assists last season.

ST Carlos Tevez

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    It was not so very long ago that Carlos Tevez would "never play" for Manchester City again.

    Now, however, the Argentine striker is back in the fold, and if his goal last weekend is anything to go by, is still in the same rich vein of form that has been with him for the majority of his Manchester City career.

    Without Daniel Agger in defence, Liverpool are going to be hard pressed to contain the 28-year-old.

    In the absence of Sergio Aguero, Tevez is going to be especially important for the Citizens over the next few weeks. 

ST Edin Dzeko

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    With Sergio Aguero unavailable, the man who replaced him against Southampton looks to be in line for his first Premier League start of the season.

    The Bosnian grabbed a goal against the Saints and will be hoping he can make a good case for a more regular starting berth than he received last season. 

    Dzeko's goalscoring record in the Premier League last season was good; he managed 14 goals in 30 appearances, including 14 starts.