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Liverpool to bring back the big guns for Manchester City challenge

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Liverpool will look to continue their march for a top-four place with a win against Manchester City on Sunday at Anfield.

The Reds have been in fantastic form and, despite crashing out of the Europa League to Besiktas last Thursday night, it was just their second loss in 18 games.

Brendan Rodgers' men top the form table in the Premier League with 16 points from six games and last weekend battled to a 2-0 victory against Southampton and went to within two points of a Champions League place.

Manchester City thrashed Newcastle United 5-0 in their last game in the top flight and are challenging for the title once again. However, the Citizens suffered a 2-1 defeat to Barcelona earlier this week with former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez grabbing a brace.

Earlier this season, Manuel Pellegrini's side romped home in this fixture at the Etihad Stadium, comfortably winning 3-1.

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It is a must win for both sides if their targets are to be reached come May.

Coutinho Back In

Rodgers chose not to take Philippe Coutinho to Istanbul and instead gave the Brazilian a rest in preparation for Sunday's game.

Prior to Thursday evening, Coutinho had started every game since Liverpool played FC Basel in mid-December. That is some effort from the 22-year-old, however in recent weeks you could see that his form had a slight dip.

When on top form, he is truly unplayable. The ability Coutinho possesses to twist and turn past defenders with such elegance and then play a perfectly weighted through ball never fails to take away the breath of Kopites.

The former Inter Milan man netted the winner in this fixture last season and having found his scoring boots after the turn of the year - his goal against Southampton on Sunday was an absolute scorcher - he will once again be looking to give his side the win.

He'll likely be joined by Raheem Sterling playing in behind the striker. 

Sterling failed to make an impact against Besiktas but should improve for this game. The 20-year-old loves picking the ball up from deep positions and running at defenders, using his pace and quick feet to cause havoc.

Sturridge To Find Scoring Boots

Based on Thursday's performance, it is clear that Daniel Sturridge is still lacking a bit of match fitness.

The England international had several chances in Istanbul however wasted them by taking too many touches on the ball.

Coutinho and Sturridge have an excellent understanding for one-another and hopefully that can be the difference against City.

You can see how desperate the former Chelsea man is to get himself on the score-sheet as each game passes by. 

105 minutes would have done Sturridge the world of good earlier this week and hopefully his form in-front of goal returns.

Moreno In A Battle

Alberto Moreno was Liverpool's best player against Besiktas. He got forward well and defended with plenty of clarity when he was forced to abandon his attacking role after half-time.

Pablo Zabeletta loves to get forward for City and his battle with Moreno could be fantastic to watch throughout the game.

Jordon Ibe has impressed playing as a wing-back and will more than likely line-up on the right. 

Henderson return

Jordan Henderson missed Thursday's game with an ankle injury and although there may have been a slight chance he would have been passed fit, Rodgers did not want to take any chances.

The former Sunderland man will take the captain's armband and will have the task of keeping Yaya Toure at bay. The Ivorian is arguably the best centre-midfielder in the Premier League and Henderson will have to be at his absolute best to keep the former Barcelona man quiet.

Joe Allen has started in the middle of the park in recent weeks but Emre Can will likely get the nod.

Can has been crying out for a midfield role after impressing at the back in the last few months and didn't do too badly against Besiktas. 

Toure To Regain Place

Prior to the Africa Cup of Nations, Kolo Toure was performing to a high standard for Liverpool. 

His experience was vital in the new set-up of three centre-backs and the former Arsenal man was impressive and Kopites were sad to see him leave for the tournament.

He returned against Besiktas and performed fantastically well, winning headers and tackles positively.

Sergio Aguero has been practically unplayable in recent weeks and Martin Skrtel will have to be at his best to keep the Argentine off the score-sheet. 

Skrtel will likely try and use his strength and muscle to counter Aguero's acute turns.

Mamadou Sakho will also come back into the sign after he missed Thursday's match with injury. The Frenchman will have the responsibility of marking David Silva and although Sakho is sometimes clumsy on the ball, he will take no nonsense when defending.

Simon Mignolet made several smart saves against Besiktas and has been excellent in recent weeks and will keep his place in goal.

Predicted starting XI

Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Sakho; Ibe, Can, Henderson, Moreno; Sterling, Coutinho; Sturridge.

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Topics:
Manchester City
Football
Premier League
Liverpool

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