October 5, 2018 / 4:24 PM / 6 months ago

Soccer: De Bruyne and Mendy back in training ahead of Liverpool clash

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester City pair Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy are back from injury and in training ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - Third Place Play Off - Belgium v England - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - July 14, 2018 Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Michael Dalder/File Photo

Belgian midfielder De Bruyne has been out since suffering a knee ligament injury in training in August while Mendy has been out for three weeks with a foot injury.

While it would be a surprise if either player was fit to play, manager Pep Guardiola refused to rule out such a possibility saying they had trained and a decision would be made about their match-fitness on Saturday.

“Fabian Delph is not available...Ilkay Gundogan has a little bit of a problem and could not train today. We will see tomorrow,” said the Spaniard.

Unless Mendy is ready to start, Guardiola faces a tricky choice at left back given Delph is ruled out.

Midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, central defender Aymeric Laporte and back-up right back Danilo are all options for the role which has particular import given Mohamed Salah’s role on the right flank.

Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, scored seven of the nine goals that the Merseysiders produced in their three wins over City last season.

But typically Guardiola was in no mood to suggest a more prudent approach from his attack-minded team.

“These guys are so dangerous and connect between themselves — Mane and Salah love running behind and they do it really well,” said Guardiola.

“We have to defend, but not in the approach play because it’s boring and we have to be ourselves. In this type of game, we must be ourselves.

“They are good and even though we are City and a good team, they also do many good things. To minimise those three players on Sunday, we have to attack and be as good as possible,” added Guardiola.

Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Martyn Herman

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