Football: Guardiola sweating on De Bruyne's fitness for FA Cup semi-final

City's Kevin De Bruyne is greeted by teammates after leaving the pitch, during the match against Atletico Madrid. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester City will take a late call on Kevin De Bruyne's participation in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool after the midfielder was unable to train due to stitches in his calf, manager Pep Guardiola said.

De Bruyne was substituted in the second half of their Champions League quarter-final tie at Atletico Madrid and Guardiola said both the Belgian and defender Kyle Walker - who hobbled off with a leg injury - did not train.

"He has stitches in his calf, it is not a muscular injury," Guardiola told reporters on Friday (April 15) ahead of the clash at Wembley Stadium.

"We will see tomorrow about De Bruyne and Walker. Walker had a big twist but is getting better. (Defender) Ruben Dias trained today and we will see about him."

City are playing three days after the second leg in Madrid where a draw helped them qualify for the Champions League semi-finals and the squad trained at second-tier Millwall instead to avoid travelling from Manchester to London.

"It is exhausting to travel from Manchester to London. The people in the club tried to find somewhere near the ground, this is why we used Millwall," he said.

Guardiola said that the intense schedule did not help either, adding that complaining about it was a losing battle as they were at the mercy of broadcasters who decide the schedule.

"We can only dream about better conditions. We have to adapt to the broadcaster's demands," Guardiola said.

"We travelled here directly from Madrid... I have said to the players that I do not want any excuses.

"Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho - they have all said the same, but you must adapt. It's not going to change, broadcasters will always be there. Do whatever you want as I am too busy preparing my team."

Guardiola has used American goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the FA Cup this season but would not confirm if he would start ahead of first choice keeper Ederson.

"I'm going to think about if Steffen starts in goal but normally I would play him. I'll discuss with the doctors," he added.

City and Liverpool played out a 2-2 draw in a top-of-the-table clash last weekend and Guardiola likened playing Juergen Klopp's side again to the rivalry he had with Real Madrid when he managed Barcelona.

"We played Madrid four times in 10 days. It's the second time that we are fighting against the same team," he said.

"You always learn when you play Liverpool. When you play in a short time you learn more. It is like basketball."

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