A severely weakened Liverpool side goes into tonight’s game against Man City at Anfield looking to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat at the Hawthorns last weekend. Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger have joined the ever growing injury list which, alongside the confirmation that Steven Gerrard will miss the remainder of the season, leaves the Reds distinctly restricted in their selection options.
Liverpool suffered defeat at the hands of Man City in just the second game of the season, a crushing 3-0 loss which stands as one of the worst performances in Hodgson’s short reign. They will be eager to avoid being on the wrong end of a double against Roberto Mancini’s side, who may have one eye on next weekend’s FA Cup semi final against Man Utd.
The two teams sit 6th and 7th in the Premier League form table, having both taken 10 points from the last 6 games, but it is City’s away form which will give Liverpool fans cause for optimism. The Citizens have taken only 5 points in their last 6 away Premier League games, they have lost their last two road trips (admittedly tough games at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge) and their last win away from Eastlands was the 3-1 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are unbeaten at Anfield since Dalglish’s return to the dugout, having claimed three wins and two draws on home turf. Despite the injury problems they must once again fancy that the support of the Anfield fans can carry them through to another positive result.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with Liverpool’s current injury list, but the news following the West Brom game that Daniel Agger will miss the rest of the season and Glen Johnson is out for a month is a massive blow. With Martin Kelly still sidelined through the hamstring injury suffered against West Ham and the fitness of Fábio Aurélio, as ever, unclear, the Reds will most likely start the match with four centre backs filling the defensive positions.
Steven Gerrard’s continuing groin problem, for which he underwent surgery this week, mean that Jay Spearing and Lucas Leiva will continue in the centre with Raul Meireles playing in a narrow left midfield role. Up front Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll will continue to build their partnership, with the latter creeping every closer to full match fitness and the former hoping to inspire the crowd in the same way as when Man Utd came calling.
Man City continues to be without the services of defenders Jerome Boateng and Micah Richards, but is otherwise at full strength. Mancini seems likely to once again leave January signing Edin Dzeko on the bench and field a front three of David Silva, Carlos Tevez and James Milner ahead of the standard midfield trio, Yaya Touré, Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong.
Liverpool (probable): Reina; Carragher, Skrtel, Kyrgiakos, Wilson; Kuyt, Spearing, Lucas, Meireles; Suárez, Carroll
Man City (probable): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; De Jong, Y. Touré, Barry; Milner, Tevez, Silva