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FOLLOW LIVE: Manchester derby in League Cup semifinals

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Manchester City meets Manchester United in a heavyweight Carabao Cup semifinal clash as the two do battle at Old Trafford in the first leg of their League Cup tie.

[ MORE: Follow League Cup scores live ]

Both teams have started a strong lineup, although it’s Manchester City that has gone completely full-strength with Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, and Bernardo Silva all starting up front without a main striker. Both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are on the bench to start, while Ilkay Gundogan, Rodrigo, and Kevin De Bruyne control the midfield and Phil Foden starts on the bench.

For Manchester United, Morgan Greenwood looks to continue his excellent Cup form up front supported by Marcus Rashford wearing the captain’s armband. The injured Harry Maguire misses out completely with Phil Jones in his place at center-back. Fred looks to continue his good performances in midfield and the warrior Aaron Wan-Bissaka starts at full-back.

Manchester United came out victorious in their last meeting, back in December in Premier League play. They also have gotten the better of City in each of their last two League Cup meetings, in 2016/17 and 2010/11. They will need to contend with a world-class Raheem Sterling who leads the EFL Cup in goals involved since the start of the 2012/13 season with eight goals and six assists.

Premier League Preview: Wolves v. Man City

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  • Man City (38 points) sit 3rd in PL table
  • Wolves (27 points) sit 8th
  • Last meeting: Man City 0-2 Wolves

At this point, there is virtually no race for the Premier League title, as Liverpool should waltz to their first domestic crown since 1990. Pep Guardiola has even said so himself. If the Reds were to slip up, however, the onus would then fall on Manchester City to make things interesting.

While the likelihood of Liverpool falling short seems unlikely given their current record-setting pace, Man City can move back into second place and cut the gap between the two sides to 11 points with a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux Stadium on Friday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

As for Wolves, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side can climb as high as fifth with a victory over the two-time defending champions. After starting the season slowly (no wins from their first six game — 0W-4D-2L), last season’s seventh-place finishers are back for another crack at the PL’s top-six. This time — thanks to Arsenal’s horrid struggles, Tottenham Hotspur’s regression and Manchester United’s continued mediocrity — Wolves look the best bet to become the first side to break into the top-six since Leicester City won the title in 2016.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – John Stones (hamstring), David Silva (leg), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee)

Wolves: OUT – Willy Boly (ankle), Morgan Gibbs-White (back)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy — Rodrigo, Gundogan — Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling — Jesus

Wolves: Patricio — Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss — Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny — Traore, Jimenez, Jota


What they’re saying

Guardiola, on Liverpool’s form: “When a team has 16 victories from 17 [games], it’s unrealistic to think we are going to chase them. It’s unrealistic right now. We have to try to win our games, secure Champions League for next season and then you never know, no? ‘If they drop a couple of games, and we win and win, I don’t know. When one team lose one game in the last 53 or 54, I’m not optimistic that they are going to lose four or five in ten or eleven games because they are incredibly strong.”

Nuno, on a packed schedule: “It’s going to be very tough, I think all of the managers are concerned and rightly so. I’m particularly concerned because I’ve been saying this; the schedule doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd. For all the teams. Of course, there are teams that have three days [between matches], but I don’t know the particular reason why it’s us as Wolves who have less hours, but it’s a concern for all the managers and for all the players. We have to survive. We have to survive. Let’s see what happens. We will train tomorrow, then we prepare to play Man City, and we’ll see. Let’s try and survive.”


Prediction

After a brief period of up-and-down results, Man City looked to be back to their best in dismantling Leicester City last weekend. Now, Sergio Aguero is back in action after missing four games due to a thigh injury, which makes Wolves’ task that much taller. However, if there’s a side that’s built to react and counter against 60 percent of possession, as City will have, it might be Wolves. It’ll be a challenge for City, but they’ll come out on top in the end. Wolves 1-2 Man City.

Lazio beats Juventus 3-1 to win Italian Super Cup in Riyadh

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) Lazio beat Juventus 3-1 on Sunday to win the Italian Super Cup for a fifth time amid a background of protests and political outrage at the game being held in Saudi Arabia.

Senad Lulic scored in the 73rd minute for Lazio after Juve’s Paulo Dybala had canceled out Luis Alberto‘s opener at Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium.

Danilo Cataldi sealed the result in stoppage time with a free kick. That was conceded by Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

It was the second time in three years that Lazio had beaten Juventus in the Super Cup. The capital side had also won 3-1 when the two clubs met in Serie A two weeks ago in what was Maurizio Sarri‘s only previous defeat as Juventus coach.

Amnesty International and the journalists union for Italian state TV RAI had written a joint letter to the presidents of Juventus and Lazio. The letter asked the clubs not to play the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia because of the country’s human rights record.

Italian politicians and human rights activists also objected to last season’s game being played in Saudi Arabia, citing the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Italian league has a contract with Saudi Arabia to play three Super Cups in the country over five years and – just like last year – the match went ahead.

Lazio took the lead in the 16th minute when Lulic crossed for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the back post, and he cut it back for Luis Alberto to fire into the roof of the net.

Sarri had again started with the superstar trident of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain and the first two combined for the equalizer on the stroke of halftime.

Dybala turned in the rebound from close range after Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha could only parry Ronaldo’s effort.

But Lazio captain Lulic helped to win the match with a splendid volley at the back post after Marco Parolo had nodded on Manuel Lazzari’s cross.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Watch Live: Manchester City v. Leicester City

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Gabriel Jesus leads the line for Man City as the hosts try to climb within a point of second place Leicester City ib Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Man City v. Leicester City ]

The Etihad Stadium is the scene, with Pep Guardiola opting to keep Rodri on the bench in facor of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva in midfield.

Leicester City’s remains healthy and fully loaded, with Kelechi Iheanacho and Dennis Praet relegated to the bench.

LINEUPS

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho (C), Otamendi, Mendy, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, G Jesus. Subs: Bravo, Aguero, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, Cancelo, Foden, Garcia.

Leicester City

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Leicester City

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Raise your hand if you thought Saturday’s meeting between Manchester City and Leicester City (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBCSports.com) would turn out to be a head-to-head battle for the right to finish second, miles behind Liverpool, in the Premier League title race. If your hand is in the air, please put it down now because you’re lying and everyone knows it.

The two-time defending champions have struggled badly — by their own otherworldly standards, at least — and have already lost as many games (four) this season as they did all of last campaign. Two years ago, when they broke virtually every PL record, they lost just twice. The main culprit, beyond their own unrealistic standard and expectations, has been injuries to an already-thin defensive unit. When Vincent Kompany left in the summer, no replacement was signed; Aymeric Laporte suffered a serious knee injury in August and hasn’t played since; now, John Stones is also out. As such, Man City are currently on pace to concede 38 goals this season — an astounding defensive record for just about any other PL side, until you see they conceded just 23 and 27 in each of their title-winning campaigns.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

When one side falls down the pecking order, the door opens for another to capitalize and climb a few rungs higher. That’s exactly what Brendan Rodgers‘ Foxes have done this season, largely through their nearly impenetrable backline which is led by 23-year-old Caglar Soyuncu. The Turkish international joined Leicester in the summer of 2018 and played just six games in his first season at the King Power Stadium, before emerging as one of the best center backs in the world this campaign. Then, there’s Jamie Vardy, who has 16 goals through 17 games and looks set to smash his career-best output of 24 goals in the Foxes’ title-winning 2015-16 season.

Last time out, Leicester suffered a rare setback in the form of a 1-1 draw with Norwich City. It was the first time they had dropped points in the PL since losing to Liverpool in early October — a run of eight straight wins followed and saw them surge past the likes of City and Chelsea in the table.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – John Stones (hamstring), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Sergio Aguero (thigh), David Silva (leg)

Leicester: OUT – Matty James (achilles)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy — Rodrigo, Gundogan — Mahrez, De Bruyne, Sterling — Jesus

Leicester: Schmeichel — Pereria, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell — Praet, Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison, Gray — Vardy


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on Leicester’s strong start: “Last year after the game, it was my feeling that this season they would be fighting for the top-four and it’s happened. They did really well last season when [Rodgers] took over the team. They have been so consistent this season and they are a fantastic team. They have a lot of quality up front and through the middle. At the back they are solid and they play so good on the counter-attack. They control all departments in the game.”

Rodgers, on the PL title race: “At the beginning, of the season nobody really expected us to be in the position that we’re in. However, for us, we have a belief in our work and how we work. The players have been absolutely first class throughout the season and this is another opportunity for us. We’re not even at the halfway point. There is still so much football to play. … It is still so early. You have just got to approach each game, be really focused and looked to bring the best quality game that you can.”


Prediction

The only sides to beat Leicester this season are Liverpool and Manchester United, a class of opponent which obviously includes Man City. The ease with which the Foxes can sit back and watch an opponent dominate possession, which City will undoubtedly do, and play for the counter-attack makes them an incredibly dangerous opposition for Guardiola and Co. Man City 2-2 Leicester.