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Pep Guardiola to remain without key man for Liverpool’s trip to Man City

Man City are expected to remain without Ruben Dias for Liverpool’s visit on Sunday, with the defender the only confirmed absentee for Pep Guardiola’s side.

The meeting between the two teams comes with only eight games remaining in the league season and is nestled between an FA Cup semi-final meeting and the Champions League quarter-finals.

For Jurgen Klopp, he has every member of his senior squad available for selection and Guardiola is not far off, with only Dias to miss out.

“Everyone is fit. Not Ruben,” Guardiola confirmed in his pre-match press conference on Friday, with the centre-back’s absence due to a hamstring injury to extend beyond a month.

Guardiola is no stranger to mind games but despite Dias’ importance to his side, a return against Liverpool after a month out of action would not appear the wisest of moves on his behalf.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 3, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It would leave John Stones and Aymeric Laporte as the likely pairing at the back, but their direct opposition remains unknown with Klopp having Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino to select from.

And after Klopp made sure to correct a reporter for failing to acknowledge the irony in Guardiola’s words from earlier in the week, the City boss lent into it again with the proposition of wine after the game.

“I think Jurgen makes world football a better place to be. He is, of course, a huge competitor but it is good,” Guardiola said.

“He’s a good guy and I have no problems with him. As he says many times we are a rich club so the wine [after the game] will be perfect!”

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