Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will have to use his squad depth against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday with both Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne reportedly ruled out through injury. Both City and Liverpool had near fully-fit squads to choose from last weekend in their epic 2-2 draw at the Etihad.
And the two Premier League title contenders face off at Wembley this weekend in another thrilling tie for a place in the FA Cup final. In between the two games, both teams played the second legacy of their respective Champions League quarter finals.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was able to take a number of his regular first-team players such as Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah out of the starting line-up and their 3-3 draw with Benfica was enough to progress to the semi-finals. City faced a much tougher test against Atletico Madrid with Guardiola’s side holding a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg.
It meant Guardiola named a strong starting XI with De Bruyne, Joao Cancelo, Walker, Aymeric Lapore and Phil Foden all among those playing from the first minute. The Belgium international was forced off with an ankle injury with Walker then also coming off with a knock moments later.
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City still had enough to hold a dogged Atletico side at bay and progress to the Champions League semi-finals, but the physical match has left a mark on his squad. Speaking after the game, Guardiola admitted “we are in big trouble” in regards to De Bruyne and Walker’s injuries.
“We played three days ago, now have a lot of injuries, I don’t know what will happen in the next weeks,” he said.
Now RMC Sport claim both players have been ruled out of the FA Cup semi-final clash with Liverpool this weekend. The report states De Bruyne will not be back for at least 10 days, also ruling him out of the next two Premier League matches against Brighton and Watford.
But he could be in line to return in time for the Champions League tie against Real Madrid on April 26. It’s not clear how long Walker will be out for, but it’s said he definitely won’t feature against Liverpool.
That likely means Nathan Ake coming in for Walker again with the 27-year-old impressing in the second half against Atletico. Oleksandr Zinchenko would be another option to play in place of Walker, but his last appearance came in against Sporting Lisbon last month.
While De Bruyne and Walker will not be available, Guardiola should be able to welcome back Ruben Dias who has missed City’s last eight games with a knock.