Understandably Pep Guardiola kept his cards close to his chest ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Liverpool on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), with the Spanish coach asked for a fitness update on two key players.
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Pep admitted that both Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy were back in training and have to be assessed of the huge game at Anfield between the top two teams in the Premier League who both remain unbeaten so far this season. Asked specifically about KDB, who has been out since August with a knee injury, Guardiola confirmed the Belgian superstar is back in training.
“He made part of the training today and he is training with us,” Guardiola said.
It appears that KDB could be on the bench for this weekend which would be a miraculous recovery given the initial diagnosis as it was thought he’d be out until November.
As for Mendy, he has recovered from a metatarsal injury but Fabian Delph is out and Ilkay Gundogan is struggling to be fit for the clash between title contenders.
Given the fact that City have lost three of their last four outings against Liverpool, having De Bruyne and Mendy back in contention would be a huge boost for Guardiola, even if they’re only available to come off the bench. Seeing De Bruyne come off the bench would no doubt scare Liverpool late in the game, as the likes of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Sergio Aguero are tough enough to handle during 90 minutes.
As for Liverpool, like Man City they’re going through a tough run of games with the League Cup, UEFA Champions and PL, and Jurgen Klopp issued an injury update on Naby Keita.
The Guinean midfielder was forced off late on in the defeat at Napoli on Wednesday with a back injury.
“He had a back spasm, so we have to wait a little bit today,” Klopp said. “He’s in today but whether he can do something on the training ground I don’t know. We have to see the doctor again and we’ll make a decision. Tomorrow we’ll have to see. It didn’t look to serious, so there is a chance he can play but we don’t know.”
If Keita isn’t ready to play, Jordan Henderson will likely play in central midfield alongside James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum.