After a hard-fought opening day win against Newcastle, the visit of Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium on Monday night will pose an altogether more demanding challenge. Last season’s top two come face to face, and while it may be a push to expect Brendan Rodgers’s men to mount another title tilt, they will force City to be somewhere near their best if they are to grab the three points.
In terms of team selection, Pablo Zabaleta is likely to replace Gael Clichy on the right of defence, but with Eliaquim Mangala still short of match fitness, the central defensive partnership of Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis will remain the same. Fernandinho is pushing for a starting role, perhaps with Yaya Touré pushing further forward, but we have seen Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking instincts on many occasions and it would be a slight surprise if he were to play three in midfield.
Sergio Aguero made a goalscoring impact off the bench last weekend and he’ll be competing with Stevan Jovetic for a place alongside Edin Dzeko up front. Jesus Navas’s pace is another option for the manager, but the Spaniard will likely be introduced as a game-changing substitute.
Here is the side Pellegrini could select:
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Prediction: MAN CITY 2 – 1 Liverpool – It’s always hard to predict just how both sides will compete, bearing in mind how early on in the season this game takes place, but it may not be the fluent, all-entertaining encounter many expect. I’ll back goals from Stevan Jovetic, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.