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Talking Points: Will Kun start against Liverpool?

At long last, the Barclays Premier League is back after the final international break of 2015.

The Etihad Stadium will host what is arguably the game of the weekend, with Jurgen Klopp bringing his Liverpool side to take on the early-season pace-setters.

Where will the game be won and lost? Here are five things to look out for…

Return of the King?

With Wilfried Bony a fitness doubt for City after he sustained a hamstring injury against Aston Villa last time out, all eyes will be on whether our top scorer will return from the start following his six week injury lay-off.

Aguero hasn’t been seen in action since October’s international break following a muscle injury but he’s returned to training and Manuel Pellegrini declared him fit in Friday's pre-match press conference.

Although Kelechi Iheanacho and Kevin De Bruyne could both feasibly start up front if Manuel decides not to risk his main man from the first minute, the prospect of seeing Kun back on the Etihad Stadium turf is mouthwatering, especially considering what he did last time we saw him there…

Case of the ex…

Much of the pre-match narrative is likely to centre on the two men on either side who are facing off against their former teams.

While two-time Premier League champion James Milner can probably expect a heroes’ welcome on first appearance at the Etihad since leaving in the summer, Raheem Sterling’s reception from the away end will probably be less than congenial.

Not that it will faze the 20-year old – ever since his move, he’s faced cat calls at almost every away ground he’s visited and Raheem has demonstrated the unflappable approach he takes to his football.

His club and international teammate Joe Hart concurs, declaring this week: “I think the whole thing with Raheem has gone now. He got a few boos in pre-season around the world. Liverpool have got a big fanbase, but they have got other things to worry about now."

The Klopp factor…

Although Liverpool lost their final game before the international break against Crystal Palace, Jurgen Klopp’s arrival has undoubtedly inspired a galvanising effect on the Merseysiders.

Before that slightly unfortunate defeat, Liverpool were unbeaten in six games under the German and are likely to continue to improve as his new methods take full effect.

All the omens and precedents are in Klopp’s favour too – the 48-year old is unbeaten against City in three meetings with Borussia (one non-competitive) and beat Manuel Pellegrini’s Malaga in the UEFA Champions League back in 2012/13.

Coutinho likes playing City…

Brazilian playmaker Phillippe Coutinho has invariably saved some of his very best form for City since his move to Anfield in 2013.

Liverpool’s no.10 has scored three in his last four appearances against Saturday’s hosts and was hitting red hot form under his new manager just before the international break.

Coutinho has scored as many goals in his last two Premier League appearances under Jurgen Klopp as he did in Brendan Rodgers’ final 18 games.

An enviable record…

In most other months, Pellegrini probably would have walked October’s Manager of the Month award after he masterminded five wins from six games.

City’s recent home streak against Liverpool is enviable – the Blues have bested their Merseyside rivals four times in their last six meetings and have lost none of those games.

So far this season, Pellegrini’smen have allowed their opponents just 28 shots on target, fewer than any other team in the Premier League, while Liverpool have the worst chance conversion rate of any team in the Premier League (10.5%).

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