Liverpool play familiar opposition in the third game of their US tour on Wednesday night when they face Premier League rivals Manchester City. Ben Twelves previews the friendly clash.
Liverpool v Man City
Wednesday, 30th July 2014, 7pm EST (Midnight UK)
Liverpool are in New York City for their third game in a week on what is proving to be a demanding pre-season tour for the Reds. They will be looking to build on Sunday evening’s performance which saw them claim a 1-0 win over Olympiacos in the ‘Guinness International Cup’.
Rodgers’ side arrived in New Jersey on Monday afternoon, where they are practicing at Princeton University ahead of the game.
Wednesday night will see Liverpool meet the club they ran so close in last season’s incredible title challenge and this time the Reds will be looking to go one better. Like Liverpool, Manuel Pelligrini’s side won their first game of the friendly tournament, breezing past AC Milan with a dominant 5-1 victory which positions them firmly at the top of Group B.
The clash will be played at Yankee Stadium – a ground that has seen capacity downsized from the original 49,600 to 33,400 for football games – which is situated in the south Bronx borough of the city. The stadium is set to become the home of the upcoming New York City Football Club that will compete in the MLS as of the 2015 season.
The Liverpool squad thankfully seem to have come out of a niggly friendly encounter against the Greek champions’ unscathed, and everyone apart from the known absentees should be fit to play a part in the match.
Vice-captain Daniel Agger was missing from Sunday’s match-day squad having allegedly been sent home injured, prompting increased speculation of a potential departure from Anfield to Barcelona for the Danish international, as numerous reports have indicated and which now seems likely with the confirmed arrival of Dejan Lovren.
While the Croatian international prepares to fly out to join his new teammates – although Wednesday’s game is set to come too early for him to take part – Agger has been united with fellow injured teammate and subject of a move away from Liverpool, Fabio Borini, in heading back to Merseyside.
However, new signing Adam Lallana – who will unfortunately miss the rest of pre-season after being ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a knee ligament injury picked up in training – is seemingly to remain on the tour.
Sakho and Mignolet both training here in Chicago after linking up with the squad. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) July 26, 2014
Late comers Mamadou Sakho and Simon Mignolet could receive their first minutes of pre-season in New York, as both have now joined up with the rest of the team and returned to training, completing the Liverpool squad.
Liverpool know their opponents on Wednesday night all too well, having finished just two points behind them in the Premier League last season, but City have so far fielded much contrasting teams to that of routine Premier League fixtures.
Sunday’s win over Filipo Inzaghi’s Milan saw the City squad feature only six regular first team players – Aleksander Kolarov, Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Javi Garcia. New signing Fernando played a large part of the match which also included forgotten men Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair for a makeshift City.
Manager Pelligrini has confirmed that none of the World Cup participants who have joined up with the squad will play on Wednesday night, meaning that delayed arrivals David Silva, Yaya Toure, James Milner, Edin Dzeko and Joe Hart are all set to miss the game.
City have won 3 of 4 fixtures of their pre-season campaign so far and have recorded victories in both matches while out in the US – beating Sporting Kansas City 4-1 and Liverpool’s opponents next Saturday, Milan and the match on Wednesday night will be shown live on Sky Sports 1.