LIVERPOOL (Sporting Alert) — Key midfielder Yaya Toure returns to the Manchester City starting side for today’s English Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.
Toure was unavailable for Tuesday’s Champions League defeat at home against Barcelona because of suspension, but is back and will play alongside Samir Nasri, Fernandinho and David Silva in the Citizens’ midfield.
Striker Edin Dzeko keeps his place in the starting lineup as the partner for Sergio Aguero, with January recruit Wilfried Bony left on the bench again.
Eliaquim Mangala plays with captain Vincent Kompany at center-back, with the overlappers are Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has decided to leave both Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli on the substitutes’ bench in his four changes from the side that was defeated by Besiktas in Europa League on Thursday.
However, skillful playmaker Philippe Coutinho returns to the starting XI after he was rested in midweek, while Jordan Henderson passed a late fitness test on his ankle to take his place in midfield.
Raheem Sterling will lead the frontline with Coutinho and Adam Lallana supporting on either side of the pitch.
Manchester City can move within two points of leaders Chelsea in the points standings with a win, while Liverpool can replaced Southampton into 5th place with a victory.
Milestone Watch @StatCity:
Man City forward Edin Dzeko is one goal away from his 50th English Premier League goals, while his strike partner Sergio Aguero is two away from netting his 100th in all competitions.
Managers Interview Before The Clash
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers speaks to Sky Sports about his team selection and why Sturridge is not starting.
“Daniel Sturridge is still in a post-injury phase really, so we’re having to be careful with him. He’s getting his fitness back in his game, and after travelling back after Thursday I felt it was too much of a risk to play him. Inside the next week or so he will be ready to play more regularly.
“Jordan Henderson wasn’t left out on Thursday, he had a problem with his ankle. He has been a big influence on the team, Philippe Coutinho had also played in a lot of games, and I felt it was time to give him a rest.
“But with both of those coming back in today we have an exciting team, the players at the front like Raheem Sterling, Coutinho and Adam Lallana, they have helped a lot in this great run we have had. Hopefully we can keep that going today.”
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini also spoke about his team selection as his side hunts its first win at Anfield since 2003.
“It is the same team that played the last Premier League game – the same team that beat Newcastle 5-0. Eliaquim Mangala did very well against Stoke and Newcastle so he deserves to play.
“We have not only scored nine goals in our last two Premier League matches, but we have only conceded one goal.
“That’s why I decide to go with a similar team – I hope it is the same team which we have seen in the last two games.”
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Mangala, Kompany, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero. Subs: Caballero, Demichelis, Clichy, Lampard, Bony, Milner, Fernando.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Lovren, Henderson, Allen, Moreno, Markovic, Lallana, Coutinho, Sterling. Subs: Ward, Toure, Lambert, Sturridge, Borini, Balotelli, Williams.