By Will Butcher
Liverpool have been handed a huge advantage against Manchester City after Pep Guardiola confirmed he will be without two senior stars.
City duo Vincent Kompany and Leroy Sane will both be missing from Guardiola’s squad to face Liverpool on New Year’s Day, as they look to continue their recovery on the sidelines.
Guardiola was quoted on City’s official website as saying that he would be without his captain and summer signing, but was set to welcome back England international John Stones.
“John is much, much better,” Guardiola said. “Vincent and Leroy I think will not be available to play.”
Captain Kompany has struggled for fitness all season and is currently sidelined with a knee injury, with a return expected to occur in January.
Teenage winger Sane has failed to recover from the knock that kept him out of the 3-0 win against Hull, but ex-Everton defender Stones is okay to play despite picking up a knee problem.
Star striker Sergio Aguero is also set to return to the side to face Liverpool, after serving a four-match ban for his vicious tackle on Chelsea’s David Luiz.
Liverpool have injury concerns of their own, with Philippe Coutinho and Joel Matip still on the sidelines.
However, the news of Kompany and Sane missing the game will be come as a welcome boost to manager Jurgen Klopp as they look to increase their lead over City in the Premier League table.
With Liverpool currently second on 40 points, a win would see them go four points clear of third placed City.
In other Liverpool team news, Klopp revealed the expected return date of playmaker Coutinho.