The transfer window ended with much aplomb in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City made some ambitious signings during the transfer season and the Spaniard now has a team worthy of challenging for the title.
The team brought in three fullbacks, a creative midfielder, and a goalkeeper to strengthen their lineup. Pep has been experimenting a lot with his team as well as the formation. It makes it difficult to predict as to who would line up on the pitch for the big clash against Liverpool. However, the Spaniard would most likely make some tactical changes to counter a rampant Liverpool team.
Manchester City had savoured seven points in the first three games prior to the international break. Guardiola’s team had to strive hard for three points due to an inspired Bournemouth side at the Liberty Stadium a couple of weeks ago.
After Gabriel Jesus’ equaliser, City garnered a victory only by Raheem Sterling’s late strike in controversial circumstances. Manchester City will look to add some potency in front of the goal against Liverpool. They might also look to alter the centre-halves, as Nicolas Otamendi looked woefully out of touch in the last game.
Manchester City can suffer a major blow on the eve of the match as the star player and captain Vincent Kompany is a major doubt for the weekend clash. City’s backline has been a little shaky as new arrivals such as Danilo, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will take some time to settle in. Moreover, the inconsistent form of Nicolas Otamendi makes things difficult for Pep Guardiola.
In such a situation, he would have expected his captain to be fit and ready for such an important match. However, the injury prone player seems to have picked up a niggle while on international duty.
Reports say that Vincent Kompany felt some tightness in his calf while playing for Belgium. He did not train with the City players on Wednesday and Thursday. Kompany has been prone to many calf injuries in his career as this is the 15th time he has suffered such a blow in last five seasons.
This is good news for Liverpool as their star attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane can wreak havoc on City’s backline. Pep Guardiola faces a tricky situation now, as he might have to change the three-man defence that he prefers most of the time.
German playmaker Ilkay Gundogan might return for City after sitting nearly ten months on the sidelines. The German suffered a horrific knee injury against Watford last December but has worked on his return since then. He played a couple of friendly matches for City.
Raheem Sterling will sit out after picking up two yellow cards in the match against Bournemouth.
With Kompany gone, Manchester City can shift to a four-man defence which means that John Stones will be back on the ground. Kyle Walker will play after completing his suspension and Danilo will sit out. Benjamin Mendy will retain his position after impressing for City in his debut game for Bournemouth.
Probable starting XI
Éderson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; D. Silva, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; B. Silva, Aguero, Jesus.