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Manchester City vs Liverpool: Live Report
7 mins: Edin Dzeko is preferred to Carlos Tevez in the Man City starting line up. Fair enough so long as Tevez is ready and willing to come on as a sub if required, unlike last season when his alleged refusal to warm up led to a months-long feud with Mancini.
3 mins: Rodgers expressed his concern with his young squad following their embarrassing FA Cup exit to Oldham last weekend but will hoping for a more mature showing today
1 min: David Silva goes for a early strike and Pepe Reina has to stretch high to tip it over for a corner.
1600 GMT: Liverpool kick off
1559 GMT: Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe believes the forward pairing of Suarez and Daniel Sturridge is improving all the time.
"In training and from the matches you can see them looking for each other to link up," he said. "Good players will always find half a yard with their partner and it has been great so far. "Good players will gel together and Daniel and Luis are good players.
1557 GMT: City have yet to concede a goal in 2013 and have kept seven straight cleansheets in all competitions but Mancini feels they also have to start scoring more if they are to close the gap on United.
If they fail to win today, their prospects of retaining the title look very slim indeed.
1553 GMT: Liverpool took a while to find their shape after Rodgers took over at the start of the season but their have found their form recently despite continuing controversies, notably an admission of diving by Luis Suarez.
1552 GMT: The referee is Anthony Taylor
1548 GMT: Both managers express wariness about their opponents. Mancini says: "They are a really good team, they have good players and they are playing well."
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insists his players will go for victory. "We set out in every game looking to win," he says.
1546 GMT: Liverpool stalwart Stephen Gerrard says their main aim will be to restrict Manchester City's strikers, adding: "We know we have the players to cause them problems on the counter attack."
1539 GMT: Teams: Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Lucas, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Suarez, Sturridge. Subs: Jones, Wisdom, Skrtel, Allen, Shelvey, Sterling, Borini.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta (C), Nastasic, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, Garcia, Barry, Silva, Dzeko, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Rodwell, Kolarov, Sinclair, Nasri, Tevez, Maicon.
Welcome to AFP's Live Report on the Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium as titleholders Manchester City bid to narrow the 10-point shortfall on leaders Manchester United and visitors Liverpool strive to reduce their own 10 point gap separating the Merseyside club from the Champions League places.
The points handicap has widened for both clubs this weekend after Manchester United beat Fulham yesterday and Tottenham Hotspur reinforced their grip on fourth place with a victory over West Bromwich Albion this afternoon.
Mario Balotelli's departure for AC Milan this week will mean fewer off-the-pitch headlines for Manchester City players but some analysts think his exit leaves manager Roberto Mancini with inadequate strike options.
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