Express: Fernandinho sends Liverpool chilling warning
- 25 August 2014 09:19
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
It's matchday! The wait is over. City's return to the Etihad Stadium is imminent and with the visit of Liverpool, what a match we have in store to christen the first home game of the new campaign...
With last season's top two locking horns for the first time since City pipped the Reds to the Premier League crown on the final day, some are already deeming this a pivotal game in this year's title race, including Manuel Pellegrini who described it as a "game of six points" in his pre-match press conference.
So what are people saying on the day of the clash?
Well, Fernandinho has fired a warning to the champions' title rivals, insisting City will not take their foot off the pedal as they did the last time they tried to defend their title.
Quoted in an article on the Express' website, the Brazilian declared: "It is a massive game. We want to start the season well. That's our target. It is important to win these games because in our first five fixtures we face strong teams - we have Arsenal and Chelsea after the international break.
"Next month we start the Champions League as well and we will have games every three or four days and it becomes difficult. So it's important we get as many points as we can early in the season.
"If we want to defend the title, we have to maintain the same performance level as last season in every game. It is important we don't relax. It is not easy to win the Premier League.
"The most important thing is that we have to prepare, every week, every game, to show again our best performance, to show our football, and defend our title.
"It was good experience for me in my first season to fight to the very end with a big team like Liverpool and I hope we can do the same again this season."
I hope so too, Ferna!
David Lynch asserts: "Pellegrini has indicated that all of his first team squad are available apart from the injured Alvaro Negredo, although £32million defender Eliaquim Mangala is not 100 per cent ready and will be on the bench, at most.
"But that does not mean he will select his strongest team – he is still wary of risking Aguero following his injury woes last season and at the World Cup.
"The Blues will rely on a late fitness assessment to determine whether the Argentine ace is ready to start, or come off the bench for the big Etihad Stadium showdown.
"If the assessments suggest he needs more work, Pellegrini will not hesitate to stick with Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic.
"City are also ready to welcome back Pablo Zabaleta, meaning they will have their first-choice back four in place for the visit of the team they pipped for the Premier League title in a climax to last season's title race.
"His other big selection decision will revolve around Fernandinho and new boy Fernando.
"If he gives in to his natural attacking inclinations, he will bring Fernandinho in. But Fernando had a fine league debut, and he allows Yaya Toure to be more adventurous.
"He could even go all three, with a sole striker."
I guess we'll just have to wait and see!
Finally, no media round-up would be complete without transfer gossip, would it? And today, there's plenty.
According to the Mirror, City have ditched plans to sign Everton's Ross Barkley, who the Toffees believe is worth £50million.
Writes Simon Mullock: "Etihad officials were stunned to learn of Everton’s sky-high valuation of a player who has made less than 30 Premier League starts.
"City were willing to go to £30m – and were offering additional payments should Barkley realise his huge potential.
"Barkley, 20, has now secured his Goodison future by signing a new four-year deal."
So, he isn't available anyway? Okay...
In other news, Football Italia claim AC Milan are reportedly in talks with City over a loan move for Negredo.
An article on the website claims: "The Rossoneri are on the search for a striker after agreeing to sell Mario Balotelli to Liverpool for €20m (£16m) this week.
"According to Calciomercato.com the latest option is Negredo, who is thought to be enthusiastic at the idea of joining Milan.
"Manchester City would be prepared to send him out on loan or at a relatively low price, considering he won’t be able to play until late October after surgery on a fractured metatarsal in his foot."
The Times also think the Beast is on his way out, though they argue the idea would be to raise funds for the capture of Angel Di Maria.
States Duncan Castles: "According to a well-placed source, City have asked Di Maria to delay a decision on where he will go as they attempt to solve the Financial Fair Play implications of such an expensive deal. They are seeking to raise about £50m from player sales, with Alvaro Negredo most prominent among the potential departures."
That's all for today. Come back to mcfc.co.uk again tomorrow morning for the media's post-match thoughts and opinions. Until then, get yourself pumped for tonight's mouthwatering clash with this gem of a video.