Man City predicted line-up vs Liverpool with six World Cup stars expected to start - gallery

Pep Guardiola has said Manchester City’s players in Qatar could be fitter than those who remained in Manchester.

Only two Manchester City players are guaranteed to miss Thursday’s Carabao Cup encounter against Liverpool.

The Blues host Jurgen Klopp’s men in their first competitive match since the World Cup, and City will welcome back most of their star men for the game. Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan returned last week and played in Saturday’s friendly match against Girona, while Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji and Rodri were back on Monday.

City’s contingent from England and Portugal could also play some part, meaning Ederson and Julian Alvarez are the only players missing for Pep Guardiola’s side. But the City manager hinted in his pre-match press conference that his players not involved at the World Cup are likely to start on Thursday’s game, including the likes of Sergio Gomez, Cole Palmer, Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland.

“I have a feeling that the players at the World Cup are in better condition than the players who were here,” Guardiola opined. “Sergio, Erling, Riyad, Cole, they miss a little bit of rhythm compared to Manuel Akanji, Rodri, Ayme and Nathan since they came back.

“They compete and they train every day and we had holidays. That’s why tomorrow is important for the rhythm for the players who were not at the World Cup.”

Therefore, Guardiola is expected to play with a similar team that started in the 2-0 win over Girona, along with those World Cup stars who have since returned to training, leaving the England and Portugal cohort on the bench. Here’s how we think City will line up.

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