This could force the Spanish manager to select a much-changed outfit against Jurgen Klopp’s side on Thursday evening, with several academy players in line for a senior appearance.
Here is how Football FanCast expects City to line up against Liverpool.
It features six changes from the side that lost against Brentford in their last game before the international break.
Although Ederson was second-choice for Brazil’s run to the quarter-finals, it seems likely that Stefan Ortega will get the nod against Liverpool to start in between the sticks.
With Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker both likely to be unavailable, Rico Lewis starts at right-back, with Sergio Gomez on the opposite flank.
Although all of City’s senior centre-back options would reach the knockout stages in Qatar, it seems likely that at least one will start against a dangerous Liverpool attack, so Aymeric Laporte partners Jadel Katongo in the heart of the defence.
In midfield, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne have all returned to training after relatively early exits in Qatar, so they keep their places at the Etihad.
They support wingers Riyad Mahrez, who should be raring to go after Algeria missed out on a World Cup spot, and Cole Palmer, with the “special” academy talent no doubt looking to emulate Phil Foden by making an impression in the first team against such esteemed opposition.
Finally, there are no prizes for guessing who starts up front, as Erling Haaland should be fully fit after recovering from the knock that sidelined him ahead of the international break, while Julian Alvarez will still be celebrating Argentina’s success.