When the draws were made for both the Carling Cup semi-final and FA Cup 3rd round I speculated that City would look to move to delay the release of Yaya Toure in linking up with Ivory Coast squad for their African Cup of Nations, and so it has proved:
Touré still faces the possibility of missing a month of City's title campaign and the Ivory Coast international has admitted being torn about his involvement in the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, starting on 21 January.
However, City have minimised the damage by persuading Ivory Coast not to enforce a Fifa rule that players can be called up two weeks before the competition. The same provisional agreement is in place for his brother, Kolo, and means they can be involved against United on 8 January followed by the home leg of the Liverpool match three days later.
With their first game in the tournament due to take place on January 21st, this could have meant that both could have been called up on January 7th, effectively ruling them out of both matches, but as is often the case clubs look to compromise to ensure disruption to their season is minimised as much as possible.
That said, should Ivory Coast progress to the final the Toure's would miss at least five Premier League games, the return leg of the Carling Cup semi-final and any fourth round FA Cup tie should City defeat United.