LONDON (AFP) - Scarred by mid-week Champions League disappointment, Manchester City have an opportunity to enhance their Premier League title defence when they visit Liverpool this weekend.
City's hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time were dealt a blow on Tuesday when they fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
But with leaders Chelsea not in action due to their participation in Sunday's League Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, a City win at Anfield will lift the defending champions to within two points of the summit.
City then face a kind run of fixtures, against Leicester City, Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace.
Victory at Liverpool will not be straightforward, however, with Brendan Rodgers' side unbeaten at home since November and on a 10-game unbeaten run in the league.
But he feels that Liverpool's draining trip to Istanbul on Thursday, where they lost on penalties following extra-time to Besiktas in the Europa League, could give City an advantage.
Liverpool, currently sixth, will recall Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho after he was rested for the trip to Turkey while Yaya Toure returns for City after missing the Barcelona defeat through suspension.
Another side bidding to overcome European disappointment are Arsenal, who host Everton on Sunday, four days after a 3-1 home defeat by Monaco in the Champions League.
A run of seven wins in nine games had seen Arsene Wenger's side climb to third place in the league table, but with their Champions League hopes now hanging by a thread, the club have been plunged into doubt.