Manchester City named six of their World Cup players in their starting line-up as they returned to action against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup. And the big-name XI did the trick as they beat the holders 3-2 in yet another classic encounter between the two rivals.
Manuel Akanji, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan all featured in the last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium. Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland – their two high-profile players who were not involved in Qatar – were also included while Kyle Walker, John Stones, Joao Cancelo, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden were on the bench.
It was Dutch defender Ake – who played for the Netherlands in Qatar – who headed home the winner for Pep Guardiola’s side in a pulsating clash that entertained from the first minute. Earlier, Haaland had put the hosts 1-0 up after good work from De Bruyne. That strike was cancelled out by a fine, composed finish from Fabio Carvalho. Despite a host of chances for both side it stayed 1-1 until the break, then Mahrez put City ahead seconds after half-time before, almost immediately, Mo Salah got Liverpool back on level terms.