Predicted Manchester City team to face Liverpool: Guardiola fretting over De Bruyne and Walker fitness

Kavein De Bruyne, Kyle Wlker, Manchester City, January 2021.

Following a good run of form, the predicted Manchester City team to face Liverpool could see Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker miss out through injury.

Manchester City’s has form has been good in all competitions of late. Pep Guardiola’s side advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 aggregate victory over Atletico Madrid.

The game before that was against this weekend’s opponents, Liverpool. It ended honours even at 2-2, meaning Manchester City maintained their one-point lead in the title race.

City’s run in the FA Cup ahead of the semi-final has been a good one. Indeed, they have scored 10 goals across the last three rounds; City beat Southampton 4-1 in the quarter-finals.

Guardiola may be forced to field a weaker side than he might have wanted this weekend. Injuries to a couple of star players could keep them out of the side.

The Spanish manager touched on that in his pre-match press conference. “We will see tomorrow,” he said of De Bruyne and Walker, who were both forced off in the second half against Atletico.

Ruben Dias could make a return from injury, though. Guardiola mentioned that the centre-back had trained, though he was not involved in the week.

He also hinted at a start for regular FA Cup goalkeeper Zak Steffen, despite the occasion. The manager said he was “going to think” about starting the American.

Last time out – Manchester City 0-0 Atletico Madrid

Fernandinho and Rodri celebrating for Manchester CityWith the Champions League tie far from over following the first leg, Guardiola went for a strong selection against Atletico.

Ederson started in net, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte playing at centre-back – Ruben Dias was still out.

Walker – who picked up an injury – started at right-back, with Joao Cancelo on the left. The defence shut out Atletico’s attack across both legs.

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Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and another now wounded party, De Bruyne, started in the midfield.

Bernardo Silva was utilised further up the field, on the left wing. He played in attack with Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez – both of whom were booked.

Predicted Manchester City team against Liverpool

Guardiola has a fine line to walk, as he will want to ensure quality in his side against Liverpool, but not risk aggravating injuries.

Steffen could start in net following the manager’s comments, though it would not be a massive shock if he opts for Ederson. Dias could return at centre-back, in partnership with Stones.

Cancelo could move to right-back, given Walker’s injury. Laporte could shift to left-back, a position he has played 13 times in his career.

Silva will likely drop into a deeper role, alongside Rodri and Gundogan; De Bruyne may not be fit to start, but could come on from the bench if able, given his impact in the 2-2 draw last weekend, which saw him score the opener.

Guardiola could revert to the attack that started in last week’s draw with the Reds. Gabriel Jesus has registered four goal involvements in the last four meetings between the sides, including his goal at the weekend. He could play with Foden, who has a sublime record against Liverpool, and Sterling, whose pace could upset the Liverpool back line.

Predicted Manchester City XI: Steffen; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Laporte; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Jesus, Foden, Sterling

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