Manuel Pellegrini proved his point on Wednesday night as Manchester City breezed past Dynamo Kyiv 1-3, with the Chilean's decision to rest the big names in the FA Cup clash away against Chelsea definitely paying dividends.
Last time out
It was an all European affair this week as both sides were involved in Champions League and Europa League fixtures respectively. Manchester City saw off Ukranian outfit Dynamo Kyiv with a competent 1-3 victory with City in touching distance of the Quarter-Finals, for the first time in the clubs' history. Liverpool meanwhile had to work hard for their 1-0 victory at home to Augsburg, an early penalty from ex-blue James Milner was enough to send them to the round of 16, with Manchester United standing in their way.
Wilfried Bony, Jesús Navas and Eliaquim Mangala are all available for selection again after the trio endured lengthy injury spells. Kevin de Bruyne is making good progress on his knee injury, incurred on the way to the final against Everton, whilst Samir Nasri has taken part in light training and hopes to return soon following a troublesome lay-off with hamstring issues. As for concerns over Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Bacary Sagna, Pellegrini insisted that there wasn't a problem and expects them to be fit for Sunday.
Adam Lallana (calf), Joe Allen (hamstring) and defender Martin Skrtel (also hamstring) are all back in training, although there are doubts that they'll feature tomorrow. Centre-back Dejan Lovren has recovered from illness.
What they're saying?
Perhaps most surprising and maybe worrying is Pellegrini's decision to stick with second-choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero over Joe Hart. Whilst the Argentine's form has been improving, he has failed to keep a clean sheet in the competition this year and has conceded 16 goals in 11 appearances. Even if Pellegrini has promised Caballero will get his game time in the cup this year, surely putting out your first-choice 'keeper will give City a better chance of lifting the cup?
Jürgen Klopp meanwhile made it clear that previous performances count for nothing, "they will be fit. We will be fit. It is a final and no-one cares where you played your last game". The German also keen not to lose sight of the task after Sunday's game regardless of the outcome - saying that the Reds have "another 36 points to fight for" between now and the end of the current campaign in May.
"We are six points behind the leaders, but we will continue fighting until the end and we are not giving up. It gives you a lot of trust if you win this title."
With both sides inconsistent throughout the season it'd be hard to choose an outright winner, with Liverpool struggling to maintain any sort of consistent form and City leaking cheap goals at the back. However the addition of Vincent Kompany and Agüero in red-hot form could swing it in City's favour and if the sky Blues can replicate the performance from Kyiv they should have little trouble in dispatching Liverpool and lifting the cup.