Pep Guardiola will again be without Sergio Aguero when Manchester City face a Liverpool side he considers to be the “biggest favourite” for the Premier League title.
Aguero has been out since suffering a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw at West Ham last month and will not feature against the champions on Sunday.
Gabriel Jesus will be pushing for a start when City do battle with the leaders at the Etihad Stadium after scoring on his return from injury as a substitute in a 3-0 midweek Champions League win over Olympiacos.
City boss Guardiola believes several clubs could win the Premier League this season, but thinks Liverpool are the leading contenders.
He said in a press conference on Friday: “They are the biggest favourite, but with the pandemic the situation is a bit different.
“I see other teams strong, Leicester maintained the level from most of last season, Arsenal made a big step forward to be contenders and Tottenham, [Jose] Mourinho has the team what he wants.
“Chelsea in the beginning is so stable now and has a huge squad for rotating top players. [Manchester] United in this moment is not in terms of results but we saw the quality they had last season, we suffered a lot in results and up front they are incredibly fast and clinical.
“I think this season there will be a lot of teams being there. The last five to 10 games will be important to arrive being there to fight for the title. Hopefully we can be there and arrive at the end with a chance to fight for the title.”
Guardiola knows 10th-placed City cannot expect to have things all their own way when they come up against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“When you play against teams like Liverpool you always have moments where you have to suffer,” said the Catalan. “We know it, we have to do it and try to use our strength as much as possible.
“We know each other quite well, we play many, many times and I don’t expect a game like 90 minutes we will be there or they will be there. There will be ups and downs, we have to be stable and take our good chances and be clinical.
“Both teams want to attack, both teams want to try [to attack].”