City will take on Liverpool on the road at Anfield. The Sky Blues dominated last weekend's Premier League fixture against Newcastle at the Etihad, winning 5-0, but struggled against a very solid Barcelona side, resulting in a 2-1 home loss on Tuesday.
Whilst this result leaves City in a very precarious position going into the second leg at the Camp Nou, this will not matter at the moment, as City are in search of closing the gap on Chelsea, who will play Spurs on Sunday in the Capital One Cup final.
With a five point gap, a win would leave City only two points off first place. Sure, Chelsea will be one match behind, but if City wins, this pressure of knowing that City is only two points could pressure Chelsea, and at this point in the season, this could affect decide the title race. Seeing Chelsea draw 1-1 with Burnley at Stamford Bridge last week puts into perspective that if Chelsea continue this inconsistency, and City goes on a run of its own, they could end up with a third league title in the last four seasons.
Here are the key points in the build-up to Manchester City's encounter with Liverpool from both sides of the pitch:
Liverpool's run of form: Since their abysmal performance against Manchester United in December, Liverpool have gone on a tear, rising in standing to sixth, just two points off fourth place, the last Champions League berth. In the last 10 match days since the United loss, Liverpool has won seven and drawn three. This form is one that is worrying for City, who is coming off a loss in the Champions League in midweek. With the emergence of players such as Balotelli and Sturridge, who is coming off of injury, Liverpool's form could continue.
No injuries for City: City enters the match against Liverpool with a full squad. Even though Manuel Pellegrini has his starting XI set in stone, it is quite important to have a full side for selection. With Liverpool missing key players like Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard with injuries, Manuel Pellegrini will have the man power necessary to play this very important match. This match will be one where every second will count and with the game on the line, it could just come down to the wire, and will full availability, Pellegrini might pull it out the bag and secure the three points.
Time of Rest: Liverpool's Europa League dream concluded on Thursday night in Istanbul after losing to Besiktas on penalties. After the prolongation of the match, with the extra time and penalty shootout, Liverpool's players and staff did not arrive in England until 4am on Friday morning. This leaves the team with only two days of training and preparation. With so much on the line, the lack of intensity on Liverpool's part could see Manchester City secure three invaluable points at Anfield on Sunday.
Predicted Starting XI for each teams
Man City (4-4-2): Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Mangala, Zabaleta, Yaya Touré, Fernandinho, Silva, Nasri, Agüero, Džeko
Liverpool (3-4-1-2): Mignolet, Lovren, Skrtel, Emre Can, Allen, Lallana, Markovic, Moreno, Sterling, Phillippe Coutinho, Sturridge
Prediction?: Man City wins 2-0 as a result of having more time for rest and preparation as well as having no problems with injury.