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Massive City test for Liverpool
19 Nov 2009 - 13:49:39
Beleaguered boss Rafael Benitez will be hoping he can lift his downhearted Liverpool players in time to face Mark Hughes' big-spending Manchester City at Anfield on Saturday.
The early 12:45pm kick-off will see the two teams, who occupy places in the top seven of the Premier League table, looking to pile the misery on each other in the eagerly-anticipated clash.
Both sides will be fresh from the international break, although City travelled to Abu Dhabi for a friendly game against the United Arab Emirates national team.
Liverpool will be boosted by the return of influential skipper Steven Gerrard, who has been struggling with a groin injury, which forced him out of England's clash against Brazil in Qatar last Saturday.
Glen Johnson, who also missed the England defeat, could be kept out with a calf strain.
Fabio Aurelio (calf), Yossi Benayoun (hamstring) and Albert Riera (hamstring) are all likely to miss the clash this weekend.
Philipp Degen will also be missing as he serves the first game of a three-game suspension following his straight red card during the disappointing 3-1 loss at Fulham at the end of October.
Main man Fernando Torres is still troubled by a groin injury and is unlikely to be risked once again.
City will be ruing the injury Martin Petrov picked up while on international duty with Bulgaria.
The flying left winger picked up a knee injury and returned to the club's Carrington training ground to undergo rehabilitation and will be out for the next couple of weeks.
Nedum Onuoha (thigh), Robinho (ankle) and Benjani Mwaruwari (thigh) are all likely to sit out once again.
The pressure is certainly showing now for Benitez, with the Merseyside giants under-performing domestically and in Europe.
Their Champions League campaign is all but over and sitting seventh in the Premier League - a huge 11 points behind leaders Chelsea - they need to get wins on the board to creep back into top-four contention.
Hughes' men will have the same idea and they may consider a trip to Anfield as the perfect opportunity to inflict more pain on the hosts.
A City win could push them back into the top four and calls for Benitez's head would surely reverberate around Liverpool.
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