LONDON • Despite Manchester City finishing a massive 18 points behind Premier League champions Liverpool last season, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers believes that Pep Guardiola’s men can be strong contenders this campaign.
Ahead of today’s league trip to the Etihad, Rodgers, a former Liverpool boss himself, expects City to be a bigger threat than last term.
He said: “Manchester City as a team always play to a very, very high level. They have a manager who is a real pioneer of our industry – a wonderful coach, and they obviously have top-level players as well.
“For us, it’s the excitement of the challenge, playing against one of the top teams in Europe. I saw their game against Wolves (3-1 win) and they were outstanding – their intensity and positioning, and just the sheer quality they have.
“It’s a difficult game for us, but another good measure for us.”
The Northern Irishman also highlighted two of City’s stars, playmaker Kevin de Bruyne and forward Raheem Sterling, who he feels would be vital to their title chase.
“It’s very hard to pinpoint one,” Rodgers said. “De Bruyne is very important to them, but I also look at Raheem and what he gives them, that pace, directness and intensity, the fact he can play in a couple of positions, and the improvements he has made in goalscoring – he’s up in that world-class bracket for me.
“For de Bruyne, it’s hard to know a central midfield player in world football who’s better in terms of his power and his passing… his view of the game is incredible.
“They are absolutely sensational players that make a difference.”
Rodgers also confirmed that Wilfred Ndidi will be out of action for up to 12 weeks as he undergoes a groin surgery. The Leicester midfielder suffered an abductor injury in last Sunday’s 4-2 Premier League win over Burnley.
City have a long list of absentees themselves, with Guardiola turning to youth for Thursday’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the League Cup.
Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all injured and Nicolas Otamendi may also miss out due to a niggle.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is self-isolating after contracting Covid-19, while centre-back Aymeric Laporte is doubtful, having returned to training only last week following his positive test for the virus.
MANCHESTER CITY V LEICESTER
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