Date:15th April 2022 at 12:00pm
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Manchester City and Liverpool renew their rivalry once again on Saturday, less than a week after the two sides played out a classic at The Etihad. 

The Premier League’s top two produced a thrilling 2-2 draw on Sunday, and now meet in the FA Cup with a place in the final next month at stake.

Both sides also progressed to the semi finals of the Champions League in midweek, with a draw enough to see both sides through their respective quarter final ties.

Man City and Guardiola are still chasing a treble

Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t come through their feisty encounter with Atletico Madrid unscathed, however, and City will be without some big names for the game on Saturday.

Here, we predict the XI that Guardiola will field for the crucial match.

Goalkeeper

Second choice ‘keeper Zack Steffen has played in three of City’s four FA Cup ties so far this term, and will likely continue between the sticks ahead of Ederson despite the tough opposition. The Citizens have won each of their ties 4-1, and the American will face a tough task to register his first clean sheet against a Liverpool side who have scored ten goals in four games in the competition so far.

Defenders

At the back, City will be without Kyle Walker, who hobbled off against Atletico and was later photographed in a medical boot. That could mean Joao Cancelo will be moved to right-back, despite playing the vast majority of his 43 games so far this season on the left.

Zinchenko could be in line for a rare start

Oleksandr Zinchenko will be the most likely candidate to fill in at left-back, ahead of Nathan Ake who has also played there when required. The Ukrainian has struggled for game time of late, playing just once in City’s last 12 league matches, so will look forward to an opportunity to impress.

In the middle, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte seem the most likely partnership to go up against the Reds’ frontline. Ruben Dias returned to the bench for the match in midweek, but Guardiola may be reluctant to risk throwing him straight back into the starting line up on such a big occasion. Ake will be unfortunate not to feature at centre-back or left-back, but could well be utilised from the bench, depending on how the game pans out.

Midfielders

Midfield could well be where this game is one or lost, but Guardiola seems unlikely to differ too much from the trio he selected last weekend, unless forced to by injury. Kevin De Bruyne was also injured on Champions League duty and will miss the match, and Ilkay Gundogan is the most likely candidate to replace him in the advanced midfield role.

Gundogan could replace the injured Kevin De Bruyne

The German was on the bench last time out against Liverpool, but played in Europe in Wednesday and is now likely to line up alongside Rodri and Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese has played in every league game apart from the opening day of the season, and has also only missed one game in Europe, but is likely to be called upon once more. Rodri, meanwhile, will be relied upon to anchor City’s midfield and provide protection to their back four.

Forwards

De Bruyne’s absence could prompt a recall to the starting line up for Raheem Sterling, who was a substitute during the draw in midweek. He could start on the right hand side of City’s frontline, while Jack Grealish could be given the nod ahead of fellow Englishman Phil Foden, who has started 16 of City’s 18 matches since New Year’s Day. Grealish didn’t feature against Atletico, but was embroiled in a heated row with Stefan Savic which culminated in the pair arguing as they went down the tunnel. Guardiola will be hoping the incident has motivated his £100 million man. Between the two England internationals, Gabriel Jesus could lead the line having scored against Liverpool last week on his first league start since January 1.

With two key players missing for City, Liverpool may just have an advantage going into what promises to be another thrilling encounter. One thing that is certain is that, if the match is even half as exciting as the game on Sunday, the supporters will be in for a treat.

 
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