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Guardiola says Man City 'don't have players' for Liverpool clash as manager complains about 'big brains in football'

20:45 EAT 17/12/2022
Guardiola Man City 2022-23
Man City take on Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday and manager Pep Guardiola is unsure what kind of team he will be able to put out.
  • Man City play Liverpool next
  • Guardiola without key players
  • Not happy with timing of fixture

WHAT HAPPENED? Guardiola's side returned to action on Saturday with a 2-0 friendly win over Girona. Manchester City now go on to face Liverpool on Thursday in a crunch League Cup clash. The City boss will be short of options for the fixture as 14 of his players are yet to return to training following their exploits at World Cup 2022. Guardiola made his displeasure at the situation plain when he was asked about his thoughts after the Girona win.

WHAT THEY SAID: "At the moment, we have four or five players, and we will have to wait and see how the others come back," he told the club's website. "We just don’t have players because the big brains of football decided this schedule and we are going to play this game [against Liverpool]. Some players are coming back now and in the next few days and step by step, they will re-join their team-mates here."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Guardiola may be without a host of regulars but will have top scorer Erling Haaland fresh as he was not involved in Qatar. Riyad Mahrez, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan all featured against Girona and could take on the Reds, while Guardiola will have to use the full depth of his squad and could give promising youngsters such as Cole Palmer, Sergio Gomez and Rico Lewis some game time.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MAN CITY? The Premier League champions are due to play three games before the turn of the year. City play Liverpool first on Thursday, face Leeds United six days later, and then host Everton on New Year's Eve.