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  1. Work-rate. Incisiveness. Nous. I don't ask for much. This is how it's gonna be. Build from the ground up. Early kick-off after an international break, with one of Professional Game Manchester Officials Limited in charge. We've seen this one many times now. The game is live on Sky as they have first dibs on the fixture, but the kick-off is in TNT Sports' TV slot on police advice. The games at Anfield always kick off later and police advice doesn't come into it. Maybe because all the City fans are stuck in traffic, which is something that only affects them. Early kick-offs are usually not conducive to a good game, and certainly not after the players have been returning from representing their countries in places like South America. And certainly not at the Etihad. Much has been made of a supposed injury crisis at City, with the likes of Ederson and Haaland not being part of their national team squads in the last round of fixtures. Haaland actually did miss this game last year through injury, not that it hampered them as they ran riot in the second half to cruise to a 4-1 win. Players like Rodri, Silva and Foden have become crucial to the way they play, and those 3 never seem to be unavailable. Furthermore, when games against them see us playing a more energetic yet haphazard attacking style and knocking City off their stride, we tend to do well. If we allow them to gain control, and if the refs decide they quite fancy an all-expenses-paid jaunt to the Middle East, we struggle to live with them. It's been like that for us at the Etihad for the most part since Jurgen took charge of us. He got a great win in his early weeks at Liverpool, but it's been one of our least favourite places to visit even when we were the best team in the world. I will not be surprised in the least when I see their bald oddball manager has a full selection available to him either. Forus, no Robbo, Thiago or Baj still, but we should have the likes of Ibou, Joe, Curtis and Grav available again. Hopefully our South American contingent return unscathed. It's all about club football again until the next international break in March, so all the players have no excuse not to have their heads in the game. More so than I usually request, concentration, motivation, attitude and application must be tip top from the word go right to the end. Let's try for the 3 points please and see where the land lies. Get it done!
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