Man City v Liverpool preview
Milner to make debut, Cole suspended for Reds
By Mike Barton. Last Updated: 23/08/10 7:49pm
Milner: Set for debut
Two of the Premier League's big guns meet again in the second week of the season, and just as in the first, Liverpool and Manchester City are involved.
City faced a stern test of their ability against Tottenham on the opening day, and despite having to thank goalkeeper Joe Hart for a stunning first half display, they weathered the storm to claim a goalless draw from White Hart Lane.
Liverpool meanwhile had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Arsenal in their opener at Anfield, where they took the lead following debutant Joe Cole's dismissal thanks to David N'Gog.
However they were undone by the usually unflappable Pepe Reina's fumble to concede an own goal in the final minute of normal time, marring what was a positive showing in Roy Hodgson's first real test in charge.
City have certainly demonstrated their spending power in the market this summer, outspending every other club in world football to try and deliver a challenge for the Premier League title.
The likes of David Silva, Aleksandr Kolarov, Yaya Toure were all involved against Spurs, but manager Roberto Mancini has even more debuts to hand out, as well as how to accommodate high-profile squad players such as Jo, Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz.
Last season both fixtures resulted in draws, with the latter game at the City of Manchester Stadium proving to be highly uninspiring between two teams seemingly more concerned about losing the match rather than winning.
Times have changed however; Mancini has a plethora of talent to choose from now in attacking areas, whilst Hodgson appeared to adopt a more attacking mindset against Arsenal than his predecessor Rafa Benitez would have done.
City team news
The Italian coach has arguably his biggest problem in selecting a consistent team, but he may switch to a more defensive outlook with Toure, Nigel De Jong and Gareth Barry in central midfield.
He does however have the added bonus of possibly handing his latest acquisitions James Milner and Mario Balotelli their Premier League debuts.
Milner finally arrived from Aston Villa to provide even more competition on the wings, whilst Balotelli score City's winner against Timisoara in the Europa League.
The Italian striker however is struggling with a knee injury, despite declaring he would be fit, but Milner is set to start.
Kolarov will sit out the encounter with an ankle injury whilst other new signing Jerome Boateng is still out with a knee problem.
Hart is expected to keep his place in goal after keeping two clean sheets, which will add further speculation over the future of former number one Shay Given.
Reds team news
Liverpool will make the trip without Joe Cole available due to him beginning a three-match ban after his sending off against Arsenal.
Hodgson may opt to start Steven Gerrard in Cole's advanced midfield position after loaning £20million midfielder Alberto Aquilani to Juventus after just one season at the club.
Christian Poulsen is likely to make his debut in the centre of midfield alongside Javier Mascherano, who has recovered from a knock against the Gunners.
Daniel Agger is still struggling however after suffering a serious concussion in the same match and may not feature.
Martin Skrtel, Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson are all likely to return after being left out of the Reds' Europa League tie against Trabzonspor.
N'Gog on the other hand may not feature due to the return to fitness of star striker and former City target Fernando Torres, who is pushing to start his first game of the season.
New keeper Brad Jones will take his place on the substitutes' bench following his £2.3million move from Middlesbrough.
Possible Starting XIs
Man City: Hart, Bridge, K.Toure, Kompany, Richards, Barry, Y. Toure, De Jong, Milner, Silva, Tevez.
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Johnson, Poulsen, Mascherano, Kuyt, Jovanovic, Gerrard, Torres.
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