And so to Anfield.
Those who are fit, anyway. For the first time this season, Steve Bruce is faced with selection issues caused by a problematic injury list rather than a surplus of available bodies. In goal, Allan McGregor is some weeks from fitness, while his understudy Steve Harper injured himself in the draw at Arsenal. That means third choice keeper Eldin Jakupović will start, with youngster Rory Watson summoned from the development squad to be City’s substitute keeper – and of course, one Matt Baker will always remember the time a young lad from the juniors sat on the bench at Anfield.
It gets little better elsewhere. Michal Dawson will be out for a month, our player of the season so far Nikica Jelavić is looking at a similar absence, while injury concerns now surround Andy Robertson and Tom Huddlestone. City do now have a squad that’s better placed to cope with an extensive injury list – let’s hope it copes.
Liverpool have started the season slowly, though successive League wins have lifted them up to fifth. Last week’s win at QPR, where Liverpool were narrowly the losers in that afternoon’s splendidly entertaining contest of Who Can Defend The Mostly Ineptly highlighted both their strengths and weaknesses – still a threat up front, but far from infallible at the back. Not entirely unlike City in fact, meaning an open and entertaining game is on the cards, and with only one clean sheet all season, City must think they can be the latest side to score against the Merseysiders.
Brendan Rodgers has to decide whether to include Mario Balotelli in the side. His dreadful form this season has largely been overlooked in favour of an odd furore over shirt-swapping. He ought to have tried biting someone or racially abusing them instead.
City’s record at Anfield is far from stellar. Only once in nine visits have we avoided defeat, a 2-2 draw in December 2008; and only once have we ever beaten Liverpool, last December. It’s not surprisingly that Liverpool start as strong favourites, with 4/9 the best you’ll get on a home win. A second successive draw for City is 4/1, while a third Premier League victory for the Tigers is as long as 8/1. There are causes to be optimistic – City’s goalscoring, Liverpool’s porous defence – but ooh, that injury list is long, isn’t it? Time for the squad to step up. Come on City.