Preview: Carling Cup - Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish
© PA Photos
North West rivals Manchester City and Liverpool will meet on Wednesday for the right to face Championship opposition in the final of the Carling Cup.

Liverpool travel to Manchester City on Wednesday evening knowing that the winner of their two-legged semi-final will face Championship opposition in the final of the Carling Cup.

That incentive should spur both managers to name strong teams for the meeting at the Etihad Stadium.

Having recently seen his side lose 3-0 against City, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish may hand skipper Steven Gerrard his second start in as many matches as he steps up recovery from a groin injury.

Luis Suarez is still serving his suspension for racist remarks made towards Patrice Evra, meaning that Craig Bellamy may be in line to face his former club.

City manager Roberto Mancini will have to wait until later on Tuesday to find out whether captain Vincent Kompany will be available. The Belgian is currently challenging the red card that he received during the weekend's Manchester derby.

Should Kompany's appeal fail, young centre-back Stefan Savic may take his place.

Edin Dzeko is also likely to earn recall, while Mario Balotelli remains an injury doubt.

Current form:

Man City: WWDLWL
Liverpool: WDDWLW

Possible lineups:

Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Savic, Lescott, Richards; Johnson, Barry, Hargreaves, Nasri; Silva; Dzeko.

Liverpool: Reina; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique; Downing, Gerrard, Spearing, Kuyt; Carroll, Bellamy.

Sports Mole says: 2-1

Roberto Mancini
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