Edin Dzeko is the leading scorer for Manchester City this season. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Manchester City will be looking to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United when they face Liverpool at Etihad Stadium in the early hours of Monday morning (AEST). Seven points behind their bitter rivals going into this weekend’s fixtures following a 0-0 draw at QPR during the week, the Citizens can’t afford to drop many more points at the backend of the season if they are going to win back-to-back titles for the first time in the 133 year history of the club.
Despite being without influential midfielder Yaya Toure for the past five matches – with the Cote d’Ivoire star at the Africa Cup of Nations – City is yet to taste defeat in any competition this year, including four Premier League fixtures, and haven’t conceded a goal in the same period. In fact, Roberto Mancini’s side has won six of its past seven, with last week’s draw at Loftus Road the only points that City has dropped since losing 1-0 at Sunderland on Boxing Day.
The Blues struggled in front of goal against QPR and their attacking options have been reduced with Mario Balotelli sold to AC Milan during the transfer window so Mancini may elect to make changes up front. Leading scorer Edin Dzeko could replace Carlos Tevez, while Matija Nastasic could return in in defence after making his comeback from injury as an unused substitute during the week. Vincent Kompany, Maicon and Micah Richards remain unavailable however.
Liverpool will be ruing a missed opportunity against Arsenal during the week when they let a two goal advantage slip to only walk away with a draw. New signing Philippe Coutinho could make his first appearance for the Reds, while Jose Enrique could start after coming off the bench at the Emirates.
Although they have posted improved results in recent times, Liverpool has won just three matches away from Anfield this season, while Etihad Stadium has been a real fortress for the champions, who have won 32 of their past 36 Premier League fixtures at the ground. Interestingly, three of the past six top flight clashes between the clubs have ended 0-0 although the past two in Manchester have been won 3-0 by the hosts. When the sides met at Anfield in August, the game ended 2-2 .
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