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Manchester City's Pep Guardiola Says David Silva, John Stones Fit for Everton

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2019

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: David Silva of Manchester City looks on as he wears a captains arm band in support of the Rainbow Laces campaign during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City at Turf Moor on December 03, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed David Silva and John Stones are fit to face Everton on New Year's Day, while Aymeric Laporte is nearing a return to training.

PerΒ Simon Bajkowski and Daniel Murphy of the Manchester Evening News, Guardiola said at his press conference on Tuesday: "I miss all the players that are injured. I like to have all the squad available and training with us. I don't like to see players injured. They are back."

Neither player has featured for City since their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on December 7.

Silva will be 34 on January 8, and City have the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva to fill the creative void left by his absence.

The Spaniard has been an unrivalled playmaker for the Sky Blues, though:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

@ManCity @premierleague @21LVA 768 - David Silva also created the most goalscoring chances for teammates this decade in the Premier League; 173 more than any other player. Conductor. #Opta2010s https://t.co/fRNmugIM0b

City are 14 points behind Liverpool in the Premier League, and the Reds have a game in hand, so it's highly unlikely they'll be able to reel them in during the second half of the season.

If they are to have any chance of doing so, or salvaging their campaign via European and domestic cup success, they need to keep important players like Silva fit as they compete on multiple fronts.

The Citizens will hope Stones' return can make them more solid at the back, too.

Fitness issues have restricted the England international to just 12 appearances in all competitions this season. Nine of those have come in the Premier League, in which City have not been nearly as impressive in defence as they were last season:

Goal @goal

Manchester City have conceded 23 Premier League goals in 19 games this season - as many as they conceded in the entirety of last season 😰 https://t.co/WMpHoI1Fqs

Laporte's absence has been an even bigger contributing factor to their struggles at the back. He suffered a serious knee injury on August 31 and has not featured since.

He could soon be back in training, though, per The Athletic's Sam Lee:

Sam Lee @SamLee

Guardiola says Laporte and Sane are the only players injured. Laporte is β€œgetting better, training alone but is on the pitch. I think in one week or 10 days he can train with us.”

It will take some time for the Frenchman to return to full match fitness, but City should be much stronger in the second half of the campaign once he's back.

In the meantime, they'll need to get past Everton on Wednesday with the aid of Silva and Stones.

The Toffees have a 100 percent record under Carlo Ancelotti after picking up back-to-back wins against Burnley and Newcastle United.

City have won each of their last four matches against Everton, though, all by a two-goal margin.