Manchester City are again without captain Vincent Kompany. The champions are hopeful Matija Nastasic (knee), who could only make the bench at QPR in midweek, will be fit to start, otherwise midfielder Javi Garcia may again have to deputise. Right-back Maicon (knee) is back in training and could soon be available while fellow defender Micah Richards (knee) hopes to return this month. Midfielder Yaya Toure and defender Kolo Toure are still on international duty.
Liverpool have no new injury concerns, although new signing Philippe Coutinho must wait for his debut. Jose Enrique could start after his return from injury.
Roberto Mancini (Manchester City): “This (the ten-point gap to leaders Manchester United) doesn’t change [anything]. I think when we arrive at the end of February, the gap will be very, very small. In every championship, never one team won a title in January. We should fight until April. If they have seven, eight, nine points (lead) in April, it could be difficult, maybe. But in this moment we have a big chance. We are not happy [Balotelli left] because I think he did well. Maybe not in the last three or four months because he had a big problem with injuries, but he did well because he helped the team win the Premier League and the FA Cup. Now we have three strikers. We have only Premier League and FA Cup – I think that could be enough.”
Colin Pascoe (Liverpool assistant manager): “[Philippe Coutinho] is away at the moment, getting things sorted. On Monday or Tuesday, he’ll come here and we’ll assess him then. The two boys (Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge) have come in – they were good business. What they will bring to the style, the club and the squad will just enhance it.”
The reverse meeting at Anfield saw four goals scored from just six shots on target in the match.
Manchester City have won two and lost just one of the last eight Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D5).
Man City have won 36 and lost just one of their last 41 Premier League home games and have kept three clean sheets at the Etihad Stadium since losing to Manchester United there in early December.
Luis Suarez now has 17 PL goals this season, only the 10th occasion a Liverpool player has reached this mark in a single PL season.