Man City V Liverpool at Etihad Stadium - Match Preview

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli could return for their Barclays Premier League clash against Liverpool.

The Italian was not risked in the New Year's Day defeat at Sunderland due to a slight ankle problem suffered in training.

With no fresh injury concerns, manager Roberto Mancini has a full-strength squad - aside from the absent Carlos Tevez - and will consider changes for the second of two games in just over two days.

Liverpool frustrated then unbeaten City as they held them to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in November.

Since then Liverpool have had some disappointing results of their own but they impressed in a 3-1 defeat of Newcastle last Friday.

Mancini said: "They are in good form, but all the teams are in good form.

"We are in an unlucky moment, but things can change in two days.

"But at the same time we need to think positively for the next game and for the future.

"We play again quickly and we should have good concentration for the next game.

"We have 45 points and we have scored 53 goals, and I think we need another 45 points in the second half."

Striker Luis Suarez is expected to return to Liverpool's squad after suspension.

The Uruguay international served a one-match ban for Friday's win over Newcastle but is likely to be back in the starting line-up for the clash against the Barclays Premier League leaders.

Captain Steven Gerrard, a goalscorer against Newcastle, has made two substitute appearances totalling 52 minutes after two months out with an ankle infection and could be in contention to start.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish insists super-rich City's super-talented squad hold no fears for his side.

The air of invincibility which has enveloped the Premier League leaders for most of the season has evaporated over the festive period.

City have taken just one point from two matches, during which time they have failed to score against West Brom and Sunderland, who inflicted only their second defeat of the campaign at the Stadium of Light yesterday.

They were second best in their encounter at Anfield in late November but escaped with a 1-1 draw and Dalglish draws confidence from all those factors.

"They are a fantastic side but so are we so we are not going to go there and be scared," said the Scot, whose team go into the match on the back of a 3-1 win over Newcastle on Friday.

"It is all well and good saying they have loads of money but they have a good team.

"The money they have everyone else would love to have but unfortunately they don't.

"We will go and play whichever 11 they put on the pitch and it doesn't matter how much they cost.

"But we have the utmost respect for what they have done, we will respect and appreciate their ability.

"They are certainly a really difficult side to play against and we have our work cut out but we will work hard and fingers crossed we will come home with a result."

Source: PA

Source: PA