Man City v Liverpool: Torres on bench

Manchester City v Liverpool

Looking at the Liverpool team-sheet it’s impossible to ignore one name tucked away on the list of subs. Fernando Torres is on the bench.

The starting eleven, whose job it is to make sure he’s not needed for anything more than a late cameo, know how important this fixture is to the Reds and their hopes for that fourth spot in the league. The attacking responsibilities have been handed to Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez, Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt.

We await kick-off to see exactly how manager Rafa Benitez plans to deploy them.

What we do know is that Lucas and Mascherano will share the responsibilities in midfield – Alberto Aquilani is amongst the subs.

In defence Rafa has again entrusted Jamie Carragher at right-back, with Skrtel and Agger in the centre and Insua at left-back. Martin Kelly is on the bench alongside Fabio Aurelio.

Albert Riera is dropped back to the bench after a less-than-perfect display on Thursday night, Yossi Benayoun is another player returning to the subs’ bench after an injury lay-off.

The City side includes Gareth Barry, for so long a target of Rafa’s, and Joleon Lescott, for so long a target of the Kop’s. Carlos Tevez is out in Argentina having attended the birth of his child but ex-Red Craig Bellamy is on the bench.

Kick-off 3pm.

Man City: 1 Given, 3 Bridge, 5 Zabaleta, 19 Lescott, 33 Kompany, 7 Ireland, 8 Wright-Phillips, 11 A Johnson, 18 Barry, 34 De Jong, 25 Adebayor
Subs: 12 Taylor, 2 Richards, 16 Sylvinho, 28 Toure, 14 Santa Cruz, 39 Bellamy, 48 Ibrahim

Liverpool: 25 Reina, 23 Carragher, 37 Skrtel, 5 Agger, 22 Insua, 20 Mascherano, 21 Lucas, 17 Maxi, 8 Gerrard, 19 Babel, 18 Kuyt
Subs: 1 Cavalieri, 12 Aurelio, 34 Kelly, 4 Aquilani, 11 Riera, 15 Benayoun, 9 Torres

Referee: Peter Walton
Assistant referees: Adam Watts, Simon Long
Fourth official: Kevin Friend

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