Preview: Liverpool v Manchester City

Never mind Wembley and United, tonight sees City take on a Liverpool side unbeaten in the League since Kenny Dalglish returned as manager. With the other top five teams all winning at the weekend, City need three points to maintain their cushion above fifth placed Tottenham and keep up the challenge for a top three finish.

One bit of good news for City last week was the likely end of Spurs’ Champions League campaign. If Spurs had won the Champions League and finished fifth in the Premier League then they would have qualified for next season’s competition ahead of the fourth placed team. Barring a miracle from Liverpool, Roberto Mancini knows that if he finishes above Spurs we will be in the Champions League for the first time, and his job ought to be secure.

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Verdict: Manchester City 5 Sunderland 0

Roberto Mancini sprung a surprise with a more attacking line-up and reaped the rewards with a five goal victory over struggling Sunderland. There was no joy for Gyan this time in his battle against Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart.

It turned out Pablo Zabaleta hadn’t made it back in time and Dedryck Boyata came in at right-back. Even more surprising was the sight of Ryan McGivern on the bench, and the left-back came on at right-back for the final quarter.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Sunderland

Hart – No Gyan induced concern for Joe in this match as Kompany and co prevented Sunderland from having a shot on target until the 77th minute. 6

Boyata (McGivern 70) – A superb return bearing in mind it was only his second ever appearance at right-back. Comfortable on the ball and didn’t over-complicate his play. 7

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Preview: Manchester City v Sunderland

City return to Premier League action on Sunday with a point to prove following the defeat to Chelsea. The two week break has been a welcome one, with several players getting the chance to recover some freshness.

Hopefully Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson will be fit to face the Wearsiders. Yaya Toure also skipped international duty to regain his fitness. Italian manager Cesare Prandelli kindly elected not to select Mario Balotelli after his red card against Dynamo Kiev.

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