• Liverpool confident ahead of the trip to the Etihad
• Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno available for the trip to the champions
• Mario Balotelli pictured in Liverpool’s Melwood training ground
• Pellegrini thinks Liverpool will miss Luis Suarez
• Aguero could start at the Etihad
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says there is a high level of belief in his squad ahead of Monday night’s trip to Manchester City.
The Reds secured a thrilling 3-2 win over the reigning champions in their last meeting at Anfield, but went on to
miss out on a glorious opportunity to win their first Premier League title after dropping points against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.
“We played very well in the two games against City last season so we’ll go there with great belief. We’re going into it after a winning start to the season and confidence is high,” the Northern Irish boss told the Liverpool Echoe.
“City are the champions and I think you have to regard them as favourites for the title. They’ll probably look at themselves and think with the squad they’ve got and the additions they’ve made they’ll expect to be up there.
Liverpool have bolstered its squad in the close season and are looking to list summer signings Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno in the squad for their second round game.
Ex-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is expected to complete a remarkable £16m transfer to the Merseyside club later today, with the announcement understood to be delayed until moments before the match.
The 24-year-old arrived at Melwood on Monday afternoon to finalise the formalities of a reported three-year contract believed to be worth £90,000-a-week. He underwent a one-on-one session with the club’s head of conditioning and fitness, Ryland Morgans, pictured in their official training kit.
The Italian is not eligible to play against his former employers tonight but will travel to the ground. His arrival add more depth to Liverpool’s forward setup, which blossomed in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Southampton with Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge.
Rodgers noted: “Every year the competition grows and gets stronger. But we will become stronger as well.
“But it’s a new season with a new team here which is evolving. We’ve done some great business this summer and I’m delighted with the squad I’ve got.”
Manuel Pellegini will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s 2-1 win in the corresponding fixture.
The Chilean manager, in his pre-game media briefing on Friday, opined that Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who left for Spanish side FC Barcelona in a reported £78m deal this summer, is irreplaceable.
Pellegrini said: “I watched Liverpool’s game [against Southampton] and we played against them in the United States. “We know what they are doing.
“It’s difficult to say after one game but Liverpool will always miss Suarez, he was a very important player. They have brought a lot of important new players and continue being a very strong squad also.”
Pablo Zabaleta or Bacary Sagna are likely to displace Gael Clichy, who featured at right-back in their opening 2-0 win at Newcastle United. New signing Eliaquim Mangala is not yet fit to play.
Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo has not recovered from a broken foot, but Argentine Sergio Aguero, after coming off the bench to complete the scoring at St James’ Park, could replace Stefan Jovetic alongside Edin Dzeko in the starting lineup tonight.