Pep Guardiola has claimed Manchester City have ‘no players’ as they prepare for Thursday’s League Cup clash with Liverpool at the Etihad.
The Sky Blues defeated Spanish outfit Girono 2-0 in a friendly yesterday with Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland on the scoresheet but the former Barcelona boss is concerned at the number of players he’s still without following their involvements at the World Cup in Qatar.
“We have no players,” the Spaniard told City’s in-house media (via Manchester Evening News). “Four or five players [are here] so we have to see how and when they [all] come back.
“We are in a difficult [position]. We don’t have players but the big brains in football made this schedule so we are going to play this game.”
With both Liverpool and City having a number of players who represented the likes of England, Portugal and the Netherlands in the Middle East, those players are yet to return to club training after being knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed recently that it’s unlikely Virgil van Dijk will feature against the Premier League champions while the German tactician said he’s yet to decide whether Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will earn minutes as we begin our defence of the League Cup.
Guardiola was asked about which of his players will return to the fold in the coming days.
“Some players are coming now, yeah, in the next few days,” he added.
“Step by step they will rejoin the people here. Nathan [Ake], Aymeric [Laporte] and Rodri are coming back and later the English players and Portugal are coming back.”
Both sides certainly won’t be at full strength on Thursday but we still look set for an intriguing encounter.
The two clubs have become major rivals in recent years with them battling it out for silverware at both home and in Europe.
Following our trip to Manchester, we then return to Premier League action and face Aston Villa away from home on Boxing Day before hosting Leicester at Anfield on December 30.