THE BIG MATCH

Aguero fit but Silva not ready

Toure warns City to expect tough game from Reds, who aim to impress new boss Klopp

LONDON • Sergio Aguero is fit for Manchester City's clash with Liverpool today, following a hamstring injury that had ruled him out of the club's last nine matches.

But David Silva and Vincent Kompany are unavailable due to their respective ankle and calf problems.

"Sergio is fit," said manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"He is ready to come back. David continues with some small pain in his ankle so I think it is a risk for him to play. Unfortunately, Samir Nasri is injured and (Wilfried) Bony continues (with a hamstring problem) and Vincent Kompany, both of them are out."

Since Aguero, last season's Golden Boot winner, has been absent, City have qualified for the Champions League knockout phase with two games to spare. They are also in the League Cup quarter-finals and lead the Premier League.

ADEQUATE COVER

One of the merits of this team is it doesn't just depend on one or two players but, of course, I think this team is better with (Aguero).

MANUEL PELLEGRINI, City boss

"I always answer about the question the same thing," said Pellegrini. "I think that we not only demonstrate now that without Sergio (or) any important players, we can play. This year, we have a lot of important injuries...

PLAYING THEIR HEARTS OUT

I don't like it when a new manager comes to a club because all the players want to impress him.

YAYA TOURE, City midfielder

"One of the merits of this team is it doesn't just depend on one or two players but, of course, I think this team is better with (Aguero)."

Liverpool's visit to the Etihad Stadium should allow Raheem Sterling to face his former club for the first time. The forward left for £50 million (S$108 million) in acrimonious circumstances after he agitated publicly for a transfer.

"I always think it is special for the player to play against (his former side). Not only Raheem," added Pellegrini. "Maybe, for James Milner, it will be exactly the same but those situations are part of the career of the player. They are now defending another shirt.

"I always say that Raheem is a very young player. He must improve a lot and in important things.

"It is important also he can demonstrate in every game because I am very happy with the way he is playing so far that he is an important player and will be more important in the future."

Sterling and City failed to find the net against bottom side Aston Villa the last time out. And City midfielder Yaya Toure has warned his team-mates not to fall victim to the "new manager syndrome" for a second Premier League game in a row.

Villa, with freshly appointed Frenchman Remi Garde at the helm, held the league leaders to a 0-0 draw at Villa Park, and Toure is wary of history repeating itself at the weekend.

"To be honest with you, I don't like it when a new manager comes to a club because all the players want to impress him," the Ivorian told the club's website.

"We had the perfect example of the new manager syndrome against Aston Villa... we had a lot of chances to score and if we had taken just one of them, it would have been a different situation."

Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Anfield last month and Toure expects Liverpool to be fired up, especially after losing their last league match 1-2 at home to Crystal Palace. The Reds are languishing in 10th spot on 17 points, nine adrift of City.

"When new managers come in, all the players want to give 100 per cent and fight for everything possible. Liverpool are a top club, a top side, and it will be a massive game on Saturday."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2015, with the headline 'AGUERO FIT BUT SILVA NOT READY'. Print Edition | Subscribe