John Stones to partner Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva at right-wing – Predicted XI: Manchester City vs Liverpool (Premier League) | OneFootball

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City Xtra

·31 March 2023

John Stones to partner Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva at right-wing – Predicted XI: Manchester City vs Liverpool (Premier League)

Article image:John Stones to partner Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva at right-wing – Predicted XI: Manchester City vs Liverpool (Premier League)

Manchester City will be looking to build on a 6-0 victory over Burnley in the FA Cup quarter-finals prior to the international break and secure victory in a fiercely contested clash against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

The reigning champions enter the return of club action in the Premier League eight points leaders Arsenal with a game in hand, and just 11 matches left to play this season.

Pep Guardiola’s side certainly cannot afford a slip-up at this point of the campaign if they are to keep their chances of retaining the Premier League title, and the opportunity of securing a treble-winning season, alive.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have picked up just 42 points in 26 matches this season, and currently sit sixth in the table. A win for the Reds would close the gap between themselves and fifth-place Newcastle to just three points, should the Magpies suffer defeat to Manchester United.

Ahead of the upcoming Premier League tie against Jurgen Klopp’s side, here is how we predicted Pep Guardiola to set up his Manchester City line-up at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Predicted XI

Ederson should maintain his usual position in goal and will be keen to keep a clean sheet in a clash that has provided many goals in the Klopp and Guardiola era.

Kyle Walker should make the starting line-up ahead of Rico Lewis, with his pace needed to track prolific goal scorer Mohammed Salah.

Ruben Dias has been crucial for Manchester City since his return from injury this calendar year, providing the decisive leadership that was clearly missing during his absence.

The Portugal international could pair John Stones, who had a great game for England during the international break and has been a key figure within Pep Guardiola’s side this season.

Both Dias and Stones have played consistently well against Liverpool in past years, with the latter making that ever-important clearance in a 2-1 victory for Manchester City which many say clinched the title for the Champions back in 2019.

Whilst the position of left-back has been continually rotated by Pep Guardiola this season, we expect Nathan Ake to complete the back four. Whilst struggling to make the starting XI in previous seasons, the Dutchman has become a key part of Manchester City’s line-up and will come into the game in high spirits after scoring for his country during the international break.

Rodri should operate in his usual position as a defensive midfielder, with Ilkay Gundogan also expected to maintain his position in midfield.

Kevin De Bruyne is the crucial choice to operate in central midfield, in a season where he has been on the receiving end of criticism, while the Belgian has still produced four goals and registered 12 assists.

Bernardo Silva was in good form for Portugal during the international break, and his tireless ability will be crucial to maintain a high-pressing attack against the Reds on Saturday.

Phil Foden is a confirmed absence for Saturday’s clash, after undergoing surgery for on an appendicitis. Doubts have also circulated about star striker Erling Haaland in the run-up to matchday, after he picked up a groin injury that forced a withdrawal from Norway duties.

Whilst Pep Guardiola may opt for Riyad Mahrez, we expect him to choose Jack Grealish to make the starting line-up. Grealish has proved his capabilities this season despite the critics, and the Birmingham-born star will be keen to net another goal this season, with his last being against Arsenal in mid-February.

Pep Guardiola may not want to risk the chance of further complications for Erling Haaland, particularly with the looming Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, and as such may opt for Julian Alvarez, who picked up an impressive brace for City against Burnley.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Ake; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Bernardo, Alvarez, Grealish.

Substitutes: Ortega, Lewis, Akanji, Laporte, Gomez, Phillips, Palmer, Mahrez, Haaland.

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