Liverpool vs. Manchester City: A Reds Lineup for International Champions Cup
Liverpool’s next challenge in their International Champions Cup campaign are Premier League rivals Manchester City on Wednesday, as the Reds continue their preseason summer tour of the United States with a mouthwatering clash at New York City’s iconic Yankee Stadium.
Raheem Sterling’s early goal ensured that Brendan Rodgers’ side made a winning start to their ICC tournament on Monday with a 1-0 win over Olympiakos, and the Liverpool manager will be looking to introduce his World Cup stars back into his squad over the next few fixtures.
Despite Loic Remy’s last-minute failed transfer and Adam Lallana’s injury, Reds fans will be boosted by the recent addition of defender Dejan Lovren from Southampton.
Here’s how we think the Reds will line up on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper: Simon Mignolet
Having played second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois in Brazil, Simon Mignolet will be keen to prove that the No. 1 spot at Anfield belongs to him, and not to returning crowd-favorite Pepe Reina.
Right-Back: Martin Kelly
Monday’s win over Olympiakos saw Glen Johnson start the match, with Martin Kelly replacing him at around the hour mark. City would be the perfect opportunity for Kelly to make his mark from the start against a strong side.
Brendan Rodgers will be eager to see how he gets on against top-quality opposition as he plans his transfer business before the summer window shuts.
Left-Back: Jose Enrique
Jose Enrique has featured heavily in Rodgers’ preseason plans so far this summer, with Jack Robinson also impressing the Reds boss. But Enrique will get the nod again on Wednesday as he continues to step up his return to fitness.
A pivotal preseason campaign for the left-back.
Center-Back: Martin Skrtel
As Daniel Agger looks to spend the coming season further down the defensive pecking order with Lovren’s arrival, we’ve put forward Martin Skrtel’s name as a possible candidate for the next vice-captaincy at Anfield.
Skrtel has led the team out already this preseason and will be keen to establish his presence on the first team, especially with the possibility that Lovren may be converted into a right-sided center-back in the Liverpool defence.
Center-Back: Mamadou Sakho
Sebastian Coates has impressed so far this summer and will be another player looking to compete for a spot in the first team, but Wednesday will be a good opportunity to evaluate whether Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho will be a solid-enough pairing to start the season.
Holding Midfielder: Emre Can
Dropping Steven Gerrard in a preseason friendly just two days after their previous fixture might not be too newsworthy, but it also presents Rodgers with a chance to plan for the future.
Emre Can has already shown glimpses of his undoubted potential after signing from Bayer Leverkusen. To do the business against City would further illustrate his future star quality.
Central Midfielder: Joe Allen
Jordan Henderson may boast impressive physical fitness, but if Rodgers were to play him for 90 minutes in every preseason game, his midfield colleagues might not get much of a chance—and Henderson himself might not get enough rest.
So into the central midfield role steps Joe Allen, who faces a pivotal third season ahead of him in Liverpool colors.
Attacking Midfielder: Philippe Coutinho
Having been arguably Liverpool’s outstanding preseason player so far, Philippe Coutinho will be eager to shine again on Wednesday.
He has developed into a much more complete midfielder in the past season, and his increased work rate, physical strength and pressing play will be important in a midfield trio blending pace, power and creative intelligence.
Right Forward: Raheem Sterling
A goal within five minutes on Monday was certainly a good way for Raheem Sterling to announce his return to the club after being one of the few players to have impressed with England at the World Cup.
With Luis Suarez headed for pastures new, the pressure and responsibility on Sterling will be much increased this season. Rodgers will be looking for an even more productive return from him yet.
Left Forward: Lazar Markovic
Lazar Markovic’s 45-minute debut against Olympiakos was encouraging enough, but can he hit the ground running and do the business against the very best teams?
That will be the question he aims to address as he reprises his starting role against City. With Lallana out and Remy no longer a target, Markovic will likely start the season as part of Rodgers’ first-choice front three.
Striker: Daniel Sturridge
Brendan Rodgers has claimed that Daniel Sturridge has what it takes to step up and become a league-leading striker for Liverpool in the wake of Suarez’s departure.
Said Rodgers, “I’ve seen a difference in Daniel since he came back. He has obviously got confidence from the World Cup and his season last year. I think he’s ready to take on the mantle.” (via the Express)
The campaign ahead is potentially a career-defining one for Sturridge.