Pep Guardiola delivers Manchester City team news update ahead of Liverpool clash

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that the club’s World Cup contingent are in better condition to those who did not feature in Qatar.

After almost six weeks without competitive club football, the Citizens return to competitive action on Thursday when they face Liverpool in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.

A total of 16 Man City players were away on World Cup duty, and while some were eliminated in the early stages, Julian Alvarez went all the way with Argentina to lift the biggest international prize.

The return of City’s World Cup contingent has been staggered as a result of when players were eliminated from the tournament, with Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan the first two to report back after Belgium and Germany were knocked out in the group stage.

Gundogan and De Bruyne played in the friendly against Girona on Saturday so should be in with a good chance of playing, while Sergio Gomez, Cole Palmer, Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland all played having not been involved in the World Cup.

Rodri, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji returned to training earlier this week and the players who represented England and Portugal are also due back before the fixture against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

But Guardiola hinted in his press conference that he’ll use the match to give minutes to those who weren’t in Qatar.

“Step by step the people come back. Today six players come back for the first time,” the Catalan revealed. “We are happy they are back and, in general, they play really well. They lived an incredible experience, the World Cup is a unique experience. Let them try and come back as soon as possible.

“I have a feeling that the players at the World Cup are in better condition than the players who were here,” Guardiola added. “Sergio, Erling, Riyad, Cole, they miss a little bit of rhythm compared to Manuel Akanji, Rodri, Ayme and Nathan since they came back.

“They compete and they train every day and we had holidays. That’s why tomorrow is important for the rhythm for the players who were not at the World Cup.”

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