Under-pressure Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has received a double dose of good news on the injury front with Darius Vassell and Benjani both coming through a reserve team outing against Liverpool.

Neither man has made a first-team appearance this season. Vassell suffered a knee injury in the pre-season friendly with AC Milan, while Benjani has struggled to shake off a thigh problem.

However, both came through a meeting with the Reds second string on Monday, Benjani sealing a 2-1 win just before half-time.

And with Hughes desperate to end a slump that has seen City lose at Middlesbrough and relegation-threatened Bolton in the past seven days, the extra striking reinforcements are vital given a change in formation could be on the cards.

Benjani in particular would beef up the Blues forward line and take some of the responsibility away from £32.5million man Robinho, who has followed up his hat-trick against Stoke with a couple of lacklustre displays.

Left-back Michael Ball also made his comeback from an ankle injury, although that has not stopped Hughes being heavily linked with a move for Marseille's Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo in the January transfer window.

The left-back slot has proved something of a headache in recent weeks for City. Neither Ball nor Javier Garrido have impressed this term and while Micah Richards has insisted he has no problem filling the vacancy, the England star has looked ill at ease in the role over the past two games.

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