Manchester City face a tough return to action after the World Cup as they face Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on December 22.
City booked their place in the last 16 of the competition by beating Chelsea, while Liverpool needed penalties to see off League One outfit Derby County.
While the Carabao Cup is not high on the list of priorities for either club, both sides will be keen to secure a place in the quarter-finals.
There were plenty of confident Man City football predictions made before a ball was kicked that Pep Guardiola’s side would be tough to beat in the competition this season.
City have lifted the trophy in six of the last nine campaigns to take their overall tally of successes in the competition to eight, just one behind Liverpool.
The timing of the game could be problematical for both teams, with a busy run of festive Premier League fixtures kicking off on Boxing Day.
City have 16 players in Qatar for the World Cup and several of them are in contention to feature when the final is played on December 18.
By contrast, Liverpool have just seven players heading to the tournament and could pick a strong starting XI for the Carabao Cup tie.
Their team could include Mohamed Salah, although City may decide to counter that by including star striker Erling Braut Haaland in their line-up.
Both players will miss the World Cup and may welcome the opportunity to get some game time under their belts before the EPL resumes.
The Carabao Cup meeting will be the third game between the two teams this term, and City will be eager to exact their revenge after losing the previous two.
The Reds claimed the Community Shield in July and followed up with a narrow Premier League victory at Anfield last month.
The two sides last met in the EFL Cup in the 2016 final, which City eventually won after a penalty shoot-out at Wembley Stadium.
Fernandinho put City ahead early in the second half, but Philippe Coutinho tied things up in the 83rd minute to send the game to extra time.
With neither side able to break the deadlock during the additional 30 minutes the game went to spot-kicks, where City goalkeeper Willy Caballero proved to be the difference maker.
His saves from Lucas Leiva, Coutinho and Adam Lallana ensured City got their hands on the trophy for the fourth time in their history.
Having seen off Chelsea’s challenge in the previous round, City will undoubtedly fancy their chances of making further progress in the competition.
Although Guardiola may field a weakened team, City have enough strength in depth to get the job done against the Reds.
Liverpool were fortunate to beat Derby in the third round and manager Jurgen Klopp is not known for picking strong teams in this competition.
With home advantage to help them, City look a good bet to defeat the Reds and book their place in the quarter-finals.
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