In the first clash between English Premier League teams in this year’s International Champions Cup, Manchester City will play Liverpool on Wednesday July 30 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Both teams are likely to start strong elevens. Both teams were in a tight title race last year for the Premier League title, which lasted until the very end of the season. Liverpool were surprise contenders in the title race, but ended up finishing in just two points adrift of the eventual champions in second. Manchester City have now won two titles in the last three years. The teams will play competitively on August 25 at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, less than a month after this preseason friendly.
Most supporters expect that both teams will field rather strong lineups now that players have a few games under their belts, and some of the stars of the FIFA World Cup are returning to the teams after a mandatory four-week holiday. Vince Siu of Bleacher Report has proposed that the starting elven for Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool will consist of Simon Mignolet in goal and Martin Kelley, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, and Jose Enrique in defense. Glen Johnson started last game against Olympiacos, so Martin Kelley will get his chance to shine at right back, and Sakho will feature for the first time after returning from the World Cup.
A three-man midfield will likely comprise Emre Can and Joe Allen holding, and Philippe Coutinho joining in the attack. Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson could also start, but Joe Allen and Can have featured predominantly so far. The forward line will consist of Raheem Sterling on the right, Lazar Markovic on the left, and Daniel Sturridge in the middle. Rickie Lambert and Jordan Ibe will surely come off the bench in the second half.
Manchester City has fielded a good mix of youth and senior players so far in their preseason games. Phil Keidel of Bleacher Report believes that Manuel Pellegrini will add a few more stars to the line-up. It is likely in order to both strengthen the team against fellow English competition, and because Manchester City is now so closely aligned with New York City. The predicted starting eleven for Manchester City against Liverpool in the International Champions Cup is Joe Hart back in goal instead of new signing Willy Caballero.
Micah Richards, Dedryck Boyata, Matija Nastasic, and Gael Clichy could be in defense, but Aleksandar Kolarov could also feature. The midfield will have Scott Sinclair and Jesus Navas on the wings, and Yaya Toure and Fernando breaking up play in the center of the pitch. With City’s midfield being so strong it would not be surprising to see Garcia, youngster Bruno Zuculini and Jack Rodwell all feature at some point. The young Nigerian trialist, Kelechi Iheanacho will join Stevan Jovetic up front, but Edin Dzeko could also get the starting nod, with rumors of a new contract extension swirling.
Both teams are used to playing each other regularly, but for some of the new signings, as well as some of the fringe players, it could be a chance to prove their worth auditioning for regular season action. In terms of the International Champions Cup, there is currently a three-way tie on points between Manchester City, Liverpool and Olympiacos. City leads on goal difference with plus-four, Olympiacos has plus-two and Liverpool plus-one. This game could very well decide who will win Group B, as Olympiacos and Milan have already played twice.
Even though it is labeled as a preseason friendly, neither team will want to lose this contest. It could therefore get chippy, with physical play leading to senseless fouls, as players from both teams will be vying for spots in their respective first teams. With both teams and their respective starting elevens not wanting to lose, the game between Manchester City and Liverpool in the International Champions Cup could easily end in a draw, with the point’s allocation decided by penalty kicks.
Commentary By B. Taylor Rash