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Carabao Cup: Manchester City vs Liverpool

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Manchester City vs Liverpool: Thurs 22nd Dec, 8:00pm

There’s a nice juicy EFL Cup tie for fans to sink their teeth into before Christmas, but it’s hard to tell
what physical state and frame of mind both Manchester City and Liverpool will be in.

There will no doubt be a certain amount of rustiness from both squads, especially in those
individuals who haven’t been to the World Cup. A small handful of meaningless friendlies in early
December aren’t going to bring those players up to the required level of match fitness after a month
off.


Nevertheless this is still a big round of 16 cup tie between two top Premier League clubs, with a
place in the quarter-finals at stake.


The EFL Cup had been Manchester City’s trophy since 2018, until Liverpool grabbed it off them last
season. The Anfield club have won the trophy nine times, while City are second in the all-time list
with eight. So expect Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to be taking this one seriously.
City warmed up for the match with a 2-0 win over Girona on Saturday, with Kevin De Bruyne and
Erling Haaland both on the scoresheet, so expect them to both feature against Liverpool. De Bruyne
had a disappointing World Cup and Haaland has been twiddling his thumbs for over a month, so they
will to be champing at the bit to get involved in the goals again.


However, Guardiola has admitted he’s unsure of who will be ready in time for the game. Ilkay
Gundogan returned early from Qatar and played against Girona, but City’s England, Portugal and
Spain contingents are unlikely to appear, and it would be a miracle if World Cup winner Julian
Alvarez strolled on to the pitch.


Liverpool beat Milan on Friday and lost to Lyon the week before in the Dubai Super Cup, using a
mixture of youth and experience.


Caoimhin Kelleher will probably continue in goal considering he’s been the cup keeper. Mo Salah,
Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Harvey Elliott, Thiago and Roberto Firmino all didn’t go
to Qatar so will give Klopp the option of fielding a strong team against City.
Klopp has already hinted that Virgil van Dijk will not return in time for the game against City, and
that combined with all the above points to goals and probably quite a few. Over 2.5 goals might be
worth a nibble.


With a 1-0 Premier League win in October and the 3-1 Community Shield win in late July to their
name, Liverpool have the upper hand when it comes to head-to-heads this season. But Liverpool’s
form has been patchy, as their 6 th place in the table suggests, while Manchester City have looked
unstoppable for most of the season, barring the shock defeat to Brentford just before the World Cup
break.
This game comes has too many ‘what ifs’ and unpredictability to be confident of picking a winner so
goals are your safe place.



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