They say if you work hard and play by the rules, you can cross the winning line first. Both of these teams fought till their last breath last season and after facing several turn-moils over a fiery, hard-fought battle it was the team from Manchester who had the last laugh. After staging an imported, world class team in their ranks Manchester City felt they deserved to win however they were brought down to their knees till a thoroughly debated and argued Steven Gerrard slip made them dream and they never looked back. On the other side of the hill, Liverpool were thoroughly bruised and battered however a £100million injection into their squad will try hard to make them dream again this year.
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When Liverpool will face the Citizens on Monday, they might have confirmed the signing of former City striker Balotelli but most importantly, they have got Lazar Markovic back from the sidelines and the Spaniard Alberto Moreno might well start for the Reds. So keeping in mind the team that played against City last December at the Etihad, there are likely two new players in Moreno and Dejan Lovren to feature against the defending Champions.
On the other hand, Manuel Pellegrini unlike his predecessor Roberto Mancini decided not to rest on his laurels as he witnessed the Italian’s fate, one year after ending a 40 year title draught in the 2011-12 season. Fernando and Eliaquim Mangala are the new signings that are likely to start for the reigning Champions and much to the distress of England Number one Joe Hart, Willy Caballero will be watching closely from the sidelines should he make a mistake.
One thing Liverpool fans will be ruing going into this game is the UNDER-DOG tag they will be wearing all season all season from now and most importantly going into the game against the Champions. After coming 2nd last season and being 1 of the 5 teams in Europe having scored a century of goals, Brendon Rodgers’ side might have deserved a bigger reception going into this game of thrones where only the winner will be cherished keeping in mind the transfer both these teams have done.
Manchester City on the other hand, will have one eye on throne even at the start of the season as they have probably the best and most importantly striker force in the League. What was bettered last season by a certain Sergio Aguero injury and SAS glittering on the English Premier League sky, Manchester City have now both Eden Dzeko and Aguero in one of the most settled strike force in the League. When you got such a settled lineup where every position has been contended for by two World Class players which is definitely aligned with the policy of Sheikh Mansour ownership, City fans are definitely justified going into this match as favorites.
So when the first whistle will be blown at the Etihad and 22 players will be going for glory, this match might become the most heated fixture these two sides have in ever been, as both of these sides have tasted last season that how a bigger threat they could be to each-others’ hopes going for glory.
Amir Bashir follow him on Twitter.