Liverpool – Manchester City Preview: Reds look to bounce back from opening-day humbling

Brendan Rodgers opted to rest several keys figures for Thursday night’s Europa League qualification clash against Hearts in anticipation for the visit of the Premier League champions.

Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson should all be recalled to the Reds’ starting XI. Jose Enrique could also be back in contention after missing the opening game of the season due to a knock sustained in training.

Daniel Agger serves a one-match suspension after his red card against West Brom, while both Andy Carroll and Joe Cole (hamstrings) are unlikely to feature.

Roberto Mancini will have to make do without the services of Sergio Aguero (knee) for a month after the striker was stretchered ff last Sunday against Southampton. Mario Balotelli is likely to have recovered sufficiently from conjunctivitis to step in to partner Carlos Tevez up front.

Gareth Barry (hernia) and Micah Richards (ankle) continue to be absent for the visitors, meaning that Jack Rodwell should be able to build upon his debut last week, with another run out at Anfield.

  • The Reds’ 3-0 loss to West Brom last week was their worst ever opening to a Premier League campaign.
  • If Jose Reina (right) starts as expected he will equal Graeme Souness and Alan Kennedy’s apperance record of 359 for the club.
  • After playing against Hearts midweek Joe Allen has now made 100 passes for Liverpool in two competitive appearances, with 96 of them finding their target.
  • Manchester City have now won seven Premier League matches on the bounce.
  • In between the years 2010 and 2012, Joe Hart is the top-flight goalkeeper who has kept the most clean sheets with 35. Liverpool’s Reina is in second place, with 26.
  • Liverpool turned down a £20m bid from City for central defender Daniel Agger this summer.
  • The last game Roberto Mancini’s side did not win was their 1-0 reverse at Emirates Stadium on April 8, a defeat that looked to end their hopes of sealing the Premier League title.
  • Samir Nasri and Carlos Tevez have started the season in form. Both the Frenchman and Argentine netted in City’s community Shield win over Chelsea and their opening victory against Southampton.

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