I'd like to think that this isn't simply playing out the string today, but it's hard to feel otherwise. With Spurs' win at the weekend, the dream of fifth seems so far away. With our injury list, the idea of ripping of an excellent close to the season seems fanciful too. And here comes City, who have things to lock down themselves.
It's hard to warm up to City, or to completely build a distaste for them either. It's a good thing to have another big club in the country, even tough it makes things even harder for ourselves. Competition is a good thing. But this is another ugly, bottomless pit of wealth that will just spend spend spend on mercenaries and distort the rules and the playing field into something we can barely understand. I know there are new FIFA rules coming into effect about debt and all that, but this is FIFA and I'm sure there are tons of loopholes I don't know about that will be exploited that will see the likes of City, Chelsea, and United be able to keep doing business as they are. Maybe that's what we are too now, though our overall expenditure compared with our revenue in the only transfer window we've seen under FSG would suggest not yet. This is probably why so many neutrals warmed up to Tottenham, as even though they've spent their fair share of cash they have brought players through the system or at least bought them young and developed them, like Dawson, Lennon, and Bale.
On the pitch, things don't get any clearer with City. For all the talent they have, except for a few occasions they are about as entertaining as an eye chart, but they're effective. Especially away from home today, you can expect Mancini to opt for a troika of battering rams in the midfield with De Jong, Toure, and probably Barry (and an argument can be made that Gareth Barry is indirectly responsible for the disintegration of this club last season, but this isn't the time). That leaves Silva, Tevez, and either Adam Johnson or Balotelli or Milner to sort it out themselves up front. Against lesser teams they usually get the one they need, against the bigger clubs they hardly ever threaten. Then Dzeko comes on to not do much, and then the game ends and Tevez and Balotelli go back to complaining about something.
But the back four it stout and they're heavily shielded, so breaking down Kolarov-Kompany-Lescott-Zabaletta will be quite the task, especially considering our depleted resources. And then there's Joe Hart behind that, only the country's best keeper that's English, which is akin to being the world's tallest midget.
As for Pool, there'll be five minutes where Aurelio is healthy, so I expect him to start because there isn't another choice. If there is, Danny Wilson will take his fish out of his comfortable waters in the center of defense into the dry land of leftback where he can flop around. Again, this is a perfect time to see if Wilson can be trusted in the future as a centerback, and I hope Dalglish opts for that. Also, sending Kyrgiakos back out there can be considered a crime against society. Carragher has to be the right back because well, there's no one else.
I guess Kenny sticks with Lucas and Spearing as the choices to have De Jong's studs implanted in them. From there? We know Meireles gets a go, probably behind Carroll-Suarez-Kuyt in a 4-3-3. Maxi could come into this for Spearing shifting Meireles farther back, but then again Maxi just wonders around like a homeless man who lost his gin, so I don't want to see that either.
Considering City's thriftiness, and Liverpool's lack of creativity with the injuries, this has all the makings of total eye-rape.