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Walker dropped as Guardiola reshuffles defence for Liverpool test

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Tottenham Hotspur’s English defender Kyle Walker-Peters (L) wins the ball from Bournemouth’s Scottish midfielder Ryan Fraser (C) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bournemouth at Wembley Stadium in London, on December 26, 2018. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

Pep Guardiola reshuffled his Manchester City defence for Thursday’s must-win top of the table Premier League clash with Liverpool as England international Kyle Walker was again dropped to the bench.

City trail league leaders Liverpool by seven points with Guardiola admitting anything other than a win for the champions at the Etihad will make catching Jurgen Klopp’s men “almost impossible.”

Walker was also sidelined for City’s defeat to Leicester and victory over Southampton on Sunday after conceding a penalty in a shock 3-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace 12 days ago with Danilo keeping his place at right-back.

Aymeric Laporte moves over to left-back with captain Vincent Kompany starting alongside John Stones at the heart of the defence.

Kevin de Bruyne is only fit enough for a place on the bench with David Silva and Bernardo Silva bolstered by the return to fitness of Fernandinho at the base of the midfield.

By contrast, Klopp goes with his tried and trusted as Jordan Henderson and James Milner return in place of Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri from the side that thrashed Arsenal 5-1 on Saturday.

Indeed, goalkeeper Alisson Becker is the only change from the Liverpool side that lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League final in May.


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