MAN CITY v Liverpool: THE PREVIEW

22 Aug

Man City’s tough start to the Premier League campaign continues this Monday with a visit from Roy Hodgson’s mercurial Liverpool side. Having produced a battling performance against Spurs last week, the Blues host their Scouse visitors, hoping to notch a first victory in the League this season.

Whilst we have regarded City’s pre-season as action-packed to say the least, with a plethora of world class players arriving at the club, change has also been afoot at Liverpool, with perennial scapegoat Rafael Benítez departing, being replaced by former Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who, incidentally, has never lost a match at the City of Manchester Stadium.

After the Europa League victory on Thursday night against FC Tiramisu, my good friend Roberto Mancini has a number of tricky selection dilemmas. New signing James Milner is pushing for a start, and although he stated on his arrival that he prefers to play in central midfield, he may have to produce the goods from the wing to start off with. Thursday’s match winner Mario Balotelli certainly had an eventful debut, and is expected to recover from a slight injury to take his place on the bench. City have a couple of defensive worries, with both new signings, Jerome Boateng and Aleksandar Kolarov out for a number of weeks.

Liverpool managed to retain the services of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard over the summer, and have added the creative Joe Cole, who fortunately is suspended for this game,  in place of Israeli international Yossi Benayoun, who departed for Chelsea. The futures of Dirk Kuyt and Javier Mascherano are shrouded in doubt, with both being chased by Inter Milan and Real Madrid. For this fixture, Daniel Agger is not expected to play, having suffered from concussion in midweek.

This is the team I would play, although Mancini may think differently:

                                                         Hart

Zabaleta               K. Touré                       Kompany                 Lescott

                                 de Jong                          Y. Touré

Milner                                          Tévez                                            Silva

                                                      Balotelli

Subs: Given, Richards, Barry, Vieira, SWP, Johnson, Adebayor

Key Battles

Joleon Lescott v Dirk Kuyt

Although not his natural position, with Kolarov and Wayne Bridge out, Lescott was forced into playing at left-back, but he impressed me with his solidity in defence. He will never bomb forward like Ashley Cole, but he does a sturdy job at the back, and his height will prove invaluable against Kuyt, who is notoriously good in the air.

Yaya Touré v Steven Gerrard

Yaya has made an impressive start to life in Manchester with a couple of strong, powerful displays, but he will face his biggest challenge so far when he lines up against Gerrard, Liverpool’s talismanic captain. Stevie G is arguably one of the best midfielders in the league, so whoever is victorious in this battle will decide the outcome of the game.

David Silva v Glen Johnson

For the Scousers, Johnson poses a great attacking threat down the right, but City must hope that Silva can force the defender onto the back foot with his creative play. The Spaniard still lacks match fitness, but has shown what an impact he may have and looks an exciting player to watch.

Referee: Phil Dowd – the rather sturdily built official is respected as a referee although he has never been regarded in the top bracket.

Prediction: MAN CITY 21 Liverpool – A pulsating affair, with goals to be scored by Fernando Torres, Adam Johnson and Carlos Tévez.

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4 Responses to “MAN CITY v Liverpool: THE PREVIEW”

  1. Slick 22/08/2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Lescott maybe allthough Zab seems to be the apple of Mancini’s eye so I wouldn’t be suprised to see him start.

  2. Browny 22/08/2010 at 9:18 pm #

    good article. My team would be very different to yours though. Same keeper and back 4, however.

    Yaya Touré

    A. Johnson Barry Milner

    Silva

    Tévez

  3. Plattsy 22/08/2010 at 9:43 pm #

    I like how your now referring to Mancini as ‘my good friend’!
    Nice article, although you talk about how Lescott was forced to play at left back – for people like me who’ve not paid much attention to the start of the season perhaps you could clarify that you mean that this happened in the last game?
    I didn’t know Kuyt and Mascherano might leave – that really would leave liverpool in a mess!
    P.S. I’d have a comma after Kolarov in para 3, being the comma-phile I am.

  4. Judge 23/08/2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Thoroughly enjoyable article! Couldn’t really think of anything constructive to write so all I’ll say is CIIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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