How Man City should line up vs Liverpool FC in FA Cup semi-final – Stuart Brennan


Manchester City may have to rotate their squad against Liverpool to account for their injury and fitness concerns after a tough trip to Madrid in the week.

City are unbeaten in their two games with Atletico Madrid as well as the Premier League clash with Liverpool in the last 11 days, but have picked up problems with Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker this week.

Pep Guardiola will be able to call upon Gabriel Jesus, who impressed last week in the Premier League draw against Liverpool but was suspended for the trip to Madrid, while Ruben Dias could also make a comeback after returning to the bench on Wednesday.

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Liverpool were able to rest seven key players for their Champions League fixture, while City players admitted they are feeling the effects of their busy fortnight. Still, the likes of Dias, Fernandinho, Jesus, Nathan Ake, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish were all on the bench at Atletico so might be able to return.

Read how our writers think City should line up below and use the interactive team selector to pick your own starting XI:

Stuart Brennan

The loss of Kyle Walker is potentially a bigger blow than that of De Bruyne, simply because City are short of numbers at full-back. Joao Cancelo might have to switch, as he did at Atletico, while Ake offers a more solid defensive option than Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Dias may have to be thrown in, with Aymeric Laporte asked to go again – simply because of his left foot and the fact he has a cleaner injury record than John Stones. It is further forward that the juggling truly begins, and Fernandinho should be given the chance to skipper the Blues at Wembley, perhaps for the last time, as Rodri is in dire need of a rest.

With so many players tired after Wednesday night, it has to be better to have a refreshed stand-in than ask the same men to go again, as much as possible. And given the fact City could well be under the cosh, Guardiola should break his policy from him and play Ederson rather than Zack Steffen.

Ilkay Gundogan can start again and Bernardo Silva may be forced to dust himself down and dig deep once more, depending on the De Bruyne outcome. In the front three Jack Grealish should be rare to go, Jesus can add energy down the middle and Sterling should get another chance against his former club from him.



Precited City line-up

Pick your best team here:

Joe Bray

Liverpool will be fresher than City after they could make changes in midweek and the Blues had to go full strength, and Guardiola’s injury concerns don’t help matters either. If there are any doubts about a player, they shouldn’t start as City need to trust their squad and not carry any passengers.



Precited City line-up

Ake has been preferred in the Atletico games when Kyle Walker hasn’t played, but with Liverpool’s obvious wing threats, it’s probably better to bring Zinchenko in for a bit more balance. Dias can come in to give Laporte a rest and keep that backline fresh.

Even if Fernandinho is available, the first priority should be to start Rodri in games like this, and the front three should be made up of the three fittest players. That means Grealish, Jesus and Sterling. Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez can come off the bench so City get the best out of them.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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