Liverpool will be without the their talisman Philippe Coutinho, while Sergio Aguero makes a return for Manchester City in the last Premier League match of 2016.
Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on Saturday in the standout fixture of Gameweek 19 in a potential six pointer that has severe implications in the title race this season. Here’s the all-important team news ahead of the New Year’s Eve extravaganza between the two biggies of English football.
For the hosts, talisman Philippe Coutinho has made a recovery from the ankle ligament injury he sustained in the win over Sunderland in November. However, the game comes too soon for the Brazil international as he is still some way off regaining match fitness.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed Coutinho’s absence in his press conference when quizzed about the Brazilian’s fitness: “No. He is in a good way, a really good way – I spoke to him a few minutes ago. But the City game, for sure, is too early and if the City game is too early then I am pretty sure the Sunderland game is too early, too. That’s it.”
Joel Matip is another key figure who’s missing for Klopp’s side, and the centre-back will miss his fourth game on the bounce due to an ankle ligament injury. In the absence of former Schalke man, Ragnar Klavan should continue to partner Dejan Lovren in the heart of the Liverpool defence.
Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner are likely to be the players on either side of the duo. Up front, Liverpool faithfuls will be hoping that Roberto Firmino is raring to go Klopp’s team, with the Brazilian due to appear in court to respond to charges of drunk driving, just a few hours ahead of Manchester City’s visit.
England international Daniel Sturridge, who ended his goalscoring drought in the 4-1 win over Stoke City on Tuesday, could challenge young Belgian striker Divock Origi for a rare start in the first team, come Saturday.
The biggest news for the visitors is that Manchester City are set to welcome their star striker Sergio Aguero back into the starting lineup. The Argentine returns to the fold having served his four-match suspension for a horrific challenge on David Luiz in City’s loss at Chelsea earlier this month.
John Stones is available having recovered from a knee injury he sustained early on in the match against Hull City on Boxing Day. However, Leroy Sane (knock) and club captain Vincent Kompany (knee) continue to remain on the sidelines for the visit to Anfield.
Pep Guardiola provided an update on the team news in his pre-match conference, where he said: “John is much, much better. Vincent and Leroy I think will not be available to play. Aguero is ready – he came back good from Argentina. Finally, he came back after four games ban and we are happy he is back.”
Despite Stones’ return though, Guardiola could persist with Aleksandar Kolarov as his makeshift centre-back, with the England international struggling to settle at City. Up ahead, Yaya Toure is likely to continue in midfield having turned in influential performances since his return to Gurdiola’s first team setup.