Man City eyes instant rebound in League Cup semi
Updated: January 09, 2012, 07:36
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LONDON(AP) Manchester City gets the chance to make instant amends for its elimination from one cup competition when it hosts Liverpool in another on Wednesday.
Sunday's 3-2 defeat against local rival Manchester United in the third round of the FA Cup makes the League Cup semifinal against Liverpool even more important to City's hopes of success in a season that has already featured elimination from the Champions League.
City beat Liverpool 3-0 a week ago in the Premier League and another positive result at Etihad Stadium would put the club in a strong position ahead of the second leg on Jan. 25.
City manager Roberto Mancini said that his team - reduced to 10 men after just 12 minutes against United - showed enough spirit in improving from 3-0 down at halftime to go into the game in confident mood.
"My feeling is good because we gave such a good performance,'' Mancini said. "I am disappointed we lost but I'm happy with our performance and proud of my players.
"I am disappointed with this game but I think we took two steps forward. If we play this way against United with 10 men and with the same attitude and strength in every other game, then I think we will win the (league) title.''
But City looks likely to be without captain Vincent Kompany because of a four-match suspension following his red card for a two-footed foul on Nani.
City will appeal against the red card but have only a slim hope of success since the defender's feet both left the ground in what could be described as a dangerous tackle.
"There is no way Vincent shouldn't play against Liverpool,'' Mancini said. "It was 300 percent not a sending off.''
Liverpool heads to City having beaten Oldham 5-1 in the FA Cup, but the Premier League's sixth-place side has been attracting more attention for the behavior of its players and fans than for its on-field performances.
Striker Luis Suarez is suspended for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and the club apologized Sunday to an Oldham player who allegedly received racial abuse from a spectator during Friday's match.
While Mancini is convinced that his league-leading City squad will win the Premier League, United is just three points further back and could be joined by Tottenham if Spurs beat Everton on Wednesday.
The match was originally scheduled for Aug. 13 but was postponed because of rioting and looting near Spurs' White Hart Lane stadium.
The postponement may have worked in Spurs' favor.
The club started the season in poor form, losing its opening two matches by a combined score of 8-1. But it has since won 13 and drawn three of its last 17 Premier League matches to occupy third place ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal, making it an ominous opponent for mid-table Everton.
"They are playing really well at the moment and deserve to be right up near the top of the league,'' said Landon Donovan, who is on loan at Everton from the Los Angeles Galaxy. "It is probably as difficult a game that I will play while over here.''
Tottenham will be without captain Ledley King because of what could be a torn hamstring, leaving the just-returned Michael Dawson in line to start in central defense against Everton.
"(King) has gone for a scan,'' manager Harry Redknapp said. "We don't have the results yet but he only went for a little easy jog and his hamstring went.''
Crystal Palace hosts second-tier rival Cardiff in the first leg of the other League Cup semifinal on Tuesday.
Palace beat a second-string Manchester United side to reach the semifinals but its squad has been decimated by an illness that forced manager Dougie Freedman into making several changes for a 1-0 League Championship defeat at Derby on Saturday.
"I've got a sickness going through the club so even with the Carling Cup on Tuesday night, I had to make three or four changes,'' Freedman said. "Now we have to tread carefully over the next couple of days and try and stop the virus spreading; that's my main concern.''