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Sky Blue News: All in for Julian, Brazil want Pep?, Everything Erling, and More...

Tuesday morning headlines from Bitter and Blue

Netherlands v Argentina: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Manchester City are just days away from facing sister club Girona as they gear up for the restart of the season. Sky Blue News has all the latest to keep you up to date as the lads return from Qatar.

Revealed: When 15 Man City stars will return following World Cup exits & who could face Liverpool - Michael Plant - Manchester World

The first-team fitness plans will intensify this week as City eye next week’s return to competitive action, when they host Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on 22 December, and Pep Guardiola’s men warm-up with a friendly game against Girona this Saturday. At least two of City’s World Cup stars could be involved in that encounter, with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne to return to training this week following the early exits of Germany and Belgium. Switzerland and Spain being eliminated at the last 16 in Qatar means Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte and Rodri will all be back in training at the beginning of next week.

Those knocked out at the quarter-finals, which included Ederson, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, will return to the club in the middle of next week. At present, there’s no indication which City players will be fit to face Liverpool and decisions will be made on an individual basis.

Players such as Ake, Silva and Stones, who were heavily involved for their nations during the World Cup, are less likely to be involved, while the likes of Ederson, Phillips and Grealish were used sparingly.

Manchester City at the World Cup: One Blue Remains - Manc Pete - Bitter and Blue

It was inevitable that at least one City player would make it through as Nathan Ake’s Netherlands faced Julian Avlarez’ Argentina. And it was the latter who triumphed, albeit through a penalty shoot-out at the end of what turned out to be a bad-tempered match between the two.

The Argentine’s were two goals up and seemingly through when the Dutch hit two late goals and forced extra time and penalties. Argentina won and Ake was looking forward to facing Liverpool next week.

Joining him on the plane home was Ederson. His Brazil side allowed a goal advantage to slip, then completely fluffed the resulting penalty shoot-out to Croatia. The City keeper had no part in the shoot-out as the world’s best keeper did what he did best - and failed to save any of Croatia’s spot-kicks.

Manchester City look into taking Etihad Stadium capacity to more than 60,000 - The Guardian

The Etihad Stadium’s present limit is 53,400, a figure reached after work to add a third tier to the South Stand was completed in 2015. The latest proposals would mean the North Stand extendeds in an enterprise that includes the building of a new club shop and museum as well as the hotel. The City Square fan zone would be expanded and covered with new food and drink outlets. A consultation process will take place early next year.

City have planning permission to extend the North Stand, having obtained it when they received the go-ahead for their South Stand scheme.

The club said they were “undertaking feasibility studies to develop a best-in-class fan experience and a year-round entertainment and leisure destination at the Etihad Stadium.

“Fans and the community are welcome to share any initial views, including what they would like to see at the Etihad Stadium in the future, or any matters they would like the club to address, in advance of formal consultations in early 2023.”

Brazil interested in appointing Pep Guardiola as coach, says report - Kyle Fansler - World Soccer Talk

The Brazilian organization deems Guardiola the best coach in the world. Hard to argue with his success at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City. As a manager, he only failed to not win a league title on three occasions dating back to 2008/09. Interestingly, it happened just once at each of his coaching positions. He also has a pair of Champions League titles, both coming with Barcelona.

However, his lack of Champions League success in the face of astounding league dominance is a red flag for international play. The Champions League bears a similar format to the World Cup or Copa America with group play. Then, there is a knockout portion. Guardiola finds a way to struggle in those one-off games, even if he dominates elsewhere.

Erling Haaland’s dad claims the striker ‘could stay at Manchester City for 15 years’... but Alfie also says his son could go to ‘Italy, Spain or France’ after just three years in the Premier League - James Cohen - Mailonline

Erling Haaland’s father, Alfie, has claimed his son could stay at Manchester CIty for ‘15 years’ amid talk over the striker’s future.

The 22-year-old has only been at the Etihad since the summer but already discussions over his career-path are taking place and suitors are lining up.

The forward has never been one to shy away to questions on his career and, similarly, his father Alfie has given a blunt opinion on his future.

Erling Haaland sends message to Jude Bellingham amid Man City transfer links - Jack Flintham - Manchester Evening News

While many of his England teammates took the opportunity to send messages of support to Bellingham, Haaland was also quick to share his thoughts on the 19-year-old. In a short reply, the 22-year-old posted: “What a player,” followed by hands-up emojis.

At the time of writing, the reply had received 8,437 ‘likes’ on the social media site. Bellingham’s performances at the World Cup have led to Europe’s biggest clubs being linked with the midfielder.

And finally... Klopp’s got his excuse sorted ahead of time it seems.

Jurgen Klopp could be without nine players when Liverpool take on Man City - Theo Squires - Liverpool Echo

Klopp confirmed Darwin Nunez would link up with his squad at their mid-season training camp in Dubai on Monday, after Uruguay were knocked out in the group-stages at the start of December. With Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Fabinho all suffering quarter-final exits with England, the Netherlands and Brazil, the German confirmed that the quintet would not report for duty before their return to Merseyside.

“We will stay here a few more days, we have another game and it is all good,” Klopp said after facing Lyon. “Darwin Nunez will join us tomorrow and then the others, we will see in England again, everyone has a week off after the World Cup.”

With Liverpool facing AC Milan on Friday 16 December, Nunez is set to feature against the Serie A outfit and will likely be available to face Man City the following week. But the Reds could be without plenty of others.

Konate will definitely miss the trip to the Etihad. The World Cup final takes place on Sunday 18 December and even if France lose to Morocco in the semi-finals, they still have to take part in the third-place play-off on Saturday 17 December. Then given a week off, it’s likely the defender would also miss Liverpool’s trip to Aston Villa on Boxing Day before reporting back for training ahead of the home clash with Leicester City on Friday 30 December.

There you are. Stay wit us at Bitter and Blue as we prepare for City’s return to the pitch.