Following on from the enthralling opening day victory at home to Southampton, this visit to Anfield to face a Liverpool side in somewhat of a transitional phase will pose another, totally different, challenge. Whilst the Blues secured a hugely entertaining and dramatic 3-2 win last weekend, Liverpool were humiliated by West Brom as they made an inauspicious start to life under new manager Brendan Rodgers.
Having replaced Kenny Dalglish in the summer, the former Swansea boss has no doubt tried to encourage his new players to adopt his admired passing and pressing game but it will take time to implement his methods fully. That possible hesitancy and insecurity is something upon which City will surely look to capitalise and should the Blues produce anywhere near their best, a win is most definitely achievable.
That said, our record at Anfield in recent seasons is poor although we did draw there during the last Premier League campaign despite being reduced to ten men in the wake of Mario Balotelli’s sending off. Sunday will need to see the Blues show the same character and spirit as displayed when a goal down to Southampton but the hosts are there for the taking.
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With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini is devoid of the services of inspirational Argentinean striker Sergio Aguero who will be sidelined for around a month following his knee injury picked up against Southampton. That leaves a space up front for either Mario Balotelli or Edin Dzeko, or alternatively, Mancini could play Carlos Tévez on his own, with support being provided from the likes of Samir Nasri and David Silva.
In defence, Micah Richards is still out so the back four could well stay the same unless the manager decides to revert to the 3-4-1-2 formation he favoured in pre-season, whilst Jack Rodwell will hope to retain his starting berth despite the lurking presence of Nigel de Jong.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
The home side will be looking to recover from their defeat on the first day of the season but they are without the suspended Daniel Agger, heavily linked with City over the summer for his ability to cover one of the mobile slots in defence, after his red card against West Brom. Fellow defender Jose Enrique could return after injury, whilst Andy Carroll is touch and go as he battles to overcome a slight hamstring problem. The one man who terrorised the City backline in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final, Craig Bellamy, has moved on to Cardiff but Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini will hope to replicate the problems the Welshman caused that night.
Referee: Andre Marriner – He only officiated one City game in the whole of last season and that was the 1-0 derby victory over Manchester United.
Prediction: Liverpool 1 – 2 MAN CITY – The loss of Agger is a huge blow to the hosts but that is offset by the injury to Sergio Aguero. It could be quite an open affair with plenty of chances, but I’m backing the Blues to reign supreme, with goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez, Yaya Touré and Luis Suarez.