this weekend with both sides seeking the upper hand in their tussle for a top-four finish.

Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are also within striking distance of the Champions League places, but is the Citizens who currently hold possession of the final berth to Europe’s elite competition.

Roberto Mancini’s men are a point ahead of the Reds with a game in hand, although they would have hoped to be further ahead after their midweek clash with Stoke City.

But the Sky Blues could only manage a draw against Tony Pulis’ Potters, meaning Liverpool will have the opportunity to vault back into fourth spot when they travel up the East Lancs Road on Sunday.

The Merseyside giants have enjoyed something of a resurgence since the turn of the year, putting on a seven-game unbeaten run before falling at Arsenal last week.

Their performance in the Europa League on Thursday night does not inspire confidence, however, as it took a late David Ngog strike to secure a 1-0 win over Romania’s Unirea Urziceni at Anfield.

Carlos Tevez is unlikely to feature, the Argentine star having returned to his homeland to be with his expecting partner.

Ex-Red Craig Bellamy is also set to sit out, while versatile defender Vincent Kompany and winger Martin Petrov remain doubts as well.

Winter signing Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, begins a three-match ban after accepting a charge of violent conduct for a kick on Stoke’s Glenn Whelan.

Last starting XI (vs. Stoke City): Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Garrido, Barry, De Jong, Vieira, Johnson, Adebayor, Santa Cruz.

Jamie Carragher shrugged off a groin problem to reclaim his spot at right-back for Thursday’s Europa League date, while the injury-cursed Fabio Aurelio also returned to the starting XI.

Star striker Fernando Torres and playmaker Yossi Benayoun are both back in training, but it is expected that neither will make the squad for this weekend’s short trip to Manchester.

Glen Johnson remains sidelined with ligament damage.

Last starting XI (vs. Unirea Urziceni): Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano, Aquilani, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera, Ngog.

Rafa Benitez chased him for the best part of 12 months, but in the end it was to Eastlands that the former Aston Villa captain went. The England regular scored City’s crucial equaliser in midweek and will have to continue picking up the creative slack from absentees Tevez and Bellamy.

‘Captain Fantastic’ has perhaps failed to live up to his title of late, in what has been a frustrating and injury-dogged season. His last few outings have shown signs that the Scouse superstar’s best form is not too far away, though, so the Sky Blues’ midfield has better keep a close watch.

Read the article on Goal.com

Premier League Preview: Manchester City – Liverpool

this weekend with both sides seeking the upper hand in their tussle for a top-four finish.

Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur are also within striking distance of the Champions League places, but is the Citizens who currently hold possession of the final berth to Europe’s elite competition.

Roberto Mancini’s men are a point ahead of the Reds with a game in hand, although they would have hoped to be further ahead after their midweek clash with Stoke City.

But the Sky Blues could only manage a draw against Tony Pulis’ Potters, meaning Liverpool will have the opportunity to vault back into fourth spot when they travel up the East Lancs Road on Sunday.

The Merseyside giants have enjoyed something of a resurgence since the turn of the year, putting on a seven-game unbeaten run before falling at Arsenal last week.

Their performance in the Europa League on Thursday night does not inspire confidence, however, as it took a late David Ngog strike to secure a 1-0 win over Romania’s Unirea Urziceni at Anfield.

Carlos Tevez is unlikely to feature, the Argentine star having returned to his homeland to be with his expecting partner.

Ex-Red Craig Bellamy is also set to sit out, while versatile defender Vincent Kompany and winger Martin Petrov remain doubts as well.

Winter signing Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, begins a three-match ban after accepting a charge of violent conduct for a kick on Stoke’s Glenn Whelan.

Last starting XI (vs. Stoke City): Given, Richards, Toure, Lescott, Garrido, Barry, De Jong, Vieira, Johnson, Adebayor, Santa Cruz.

Jamie Carragher shrugged off a groin problem to reclaim his spot at right-back for Thursday’s Europa League date, while the injury-cursed Fabio Aurelio also returned to the starting XI.

Star striker Fernando Torres and playmaker Yossi Benayoun are both back in training, but it is expected that neither will make the squad for this weekend’s short trip to Manchester.

Glen Johnson remains sidelined with ligament damage.

Last starting XI (vs. Unirea Urziceni): Reina, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Aurelio, Mascherano, Aquilani, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera, Ngog.

Rafa Benitez chased him for the best part of 12 months, but in the end it was to Eastlands that the former Aston Villa captain went. The England regular scored City’s crucial equaliser in midweek and will have to continue picking up the creative slack from absentees Tevez and Bellamy.

‘Captain Fantastic’ has perhaps failed to live up to his title of late, in what has been a frustrating and injury-dogged season. His last few outings have shown signs that the Scouse superstar’s best form is not too far away, though, so the Sky Blues’ midfield has better keep a close watch.

Read the article on Goal.com

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