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Home James as Milner prepares for Reds bow



James Milner is standing by to make his debut for City against Liverpool tomorrow evening.

Mario Balotelli should also be available to make his home bow, despite hobbling off against FC Timisoara on Thursday night, though City fans will have to wait for the Premier League home debuts of Aleksandar Kolarov and Jerome Boateng.

The new full-backs are both sidelined with injury and manager Roberto Mancini is also without Wayne Bridge.

Roy Hodgson expects to have Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano back against the Blues, though Joe Cole is suspended.

The Liverpool boss rested Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel and Dirk Kuyt during the first leg Europa League victory over Trabzonspor on Thursday, but is expected to recall the quartet for the visit to the City of Manchester Stadium.

"I think it was important to rest them,” said Hodgson. "All of them played for international teams last Wednesday, then they had to play Arsenal in a very intensive game.

With another important game on Thursday and City to come on Monday, I think it was important we rotated the players. Fortunately the players I chose did not let the club down and did a good job

...Roy Hodgson


City and Liverpool drew both league games last season with a 2-2 draw at Anfield and a dour 0-0 draw in the return match in Manchester.

Blues boss Mancini believes the Merseysiders to provide a stiff test for his side. He said:  "Liverpool are a strong team. They did not sell any players from last season.

"We want to win, but I have a lot of respect for them and a lot of respect for Roy Hodgson. It should be a good match."

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