Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Pep Guardiola is confident that Manchester City can cut Liverpool's lead over them in the Premier League title race, believing Jurgen Klopp's all-action side may burn out in the later months of the season. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.

The influential Belgium midfielder missed Sunday's victory over Southampton with a muscle injury and could be sidelined again when the top two face off at the Etihad on Thursday (kick-off 8pm). The Citizens scored all three goals during an impressive first-half performance with David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero all getting on the scoresheet and Riyad Mahrez going close.

However, Guardiola is hopeful that the Belgium worldwide will be ready to feature at the Etihad.

"He trained today. Tomorrow we need to have another check in the morning, but he's much better", said Guardiola in his pre-match news conference.

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With Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph both absent, the Brazilian will be given the nod in an unfamiliar role at the expense of Oleksandr Zinchenko. Leroy Sane and John Stones are pushing for recalls.

Granted, Laporte was being played slightly out of position, but Salah still taught him a painful lesson as Liverpool won 3-0 on the night, all but sealing a place in the semi-final. Roberto Firmino was a hat-trick hero for the Reds, who led 4-1 at the break despite conceding the opener.

"Last year we had that pressure, this year they have that pressure". "It is our chance to fight or the Premier League".

"An astonishing 11 game win streak, beginning with Arsenal and ending in a 'title decider" versus Manchester City, saw The Reds jump from fourth to first, scoring three or more in nine of those fixtures. The hosts have W11-D1-L3 against the Big Six since the start of last season.

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A shock run of three defeats in four Premier League games in December has left City playing catch up to a Liverpool side eyeing history by ending a 29-year wait to win the league. The visitors have W5-D7-L4 in all games against the same opposition since the beginning of 2017/18.

Former Liverpool FC striker Owen is backing the Reds to secure a draw with Manchester City at The Etihad on Thursday night.

Although City have goalscorers all over the pitch, they will be seriously weakened if van Dijk can stifle Aguero for 90 minutes, as he is also a very important player in other aspects of City's attacking play. And there's a sense he struggles to set teams up against managerial counterpart Juergen Klopp. Their showing in the Champions League was a testament of that, and they are performing very well this Premier League season.

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