Pep Guardiola has confirmed that six more players have returned to the Man City squad from the World Cup ahead of Thursday’s clash with Liverpool.
Man City had a total of 16 players at this year’s tournament in Qatar, with only Barcelona (17) seeing more called up.
Meanwhile, Liverpool only saw seven of theirs head to the World Cup, which allowed Jurgen Klopp to work with the majority of his squad throughout a mid-season training camp.
That could set up Thursday’s Carabao Cup fourth-round tie as a mismatch, though that is doubtful regardless of the personnel.
In his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, Guardiola confirmed that six more players had reported back for training that morning, but it seems unlikely they will feature in midweek.
“Step by step, the people come back. Today come six players for the first time,” he told reporters.
“I’m happy that they are back, in general they played really well, all of them, and they lived, I’m pretty sure, an incredible experience. The World Cup is a unique experience.
“Let them try to come back as soon as possible, to work good for the team, for themselves.”
Prior to Wednesday, there were doubts over nine players who made it to at least the last 16, with Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Kalvin Phillips, Phil, Foden and Jack Grealish yet to train.
However, as he continued, Guardiola suggested that Laporte had joined Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji in being available.
The Spaniard also suggested that those who had been involved at the World Cup would be in “better condition” to play than those who missed out, such as Erling Haaland.
“I have the feeling that the players who were at the World Cup are in a better condition than the players who are here,” he said.
“Sergio [Gomez], Erling, Riyad [Mahrez], Cole [Palmer], they miss a little bit of rhythm compared to Manu Akanji, Rodri, Aymer and Nathan.
“They came back, we saw them, perfectly. That’s normal. They competed, they trained every day and we had holidays.
“That’s why the most important thing is to keep the rhythm. For the players who were not at the World Cup, [they need] to gain rhythm.
“We don’t have a month off or weeks to prepare the team, so we have to do it with what we have.”
One player who is guaranteed to miss out on Thursday is Julian Alvarez, who has been granted an extended break following Argentina’s triumph in the final.
Possible Man City XI: Ortega; Lewis, Akanji, Ake, Gomez; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Palmer, Haaland