Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Saturday February 2 2013
What scoreline has former Reds defender Mark Lawrenson plumped for in the latest edition of his prediction feature?...
Ex-Liverpool centre-back turned media pundit Mark Lawrenson has expressed his thoughts ahead of his old side's Premier League trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
Writing in his regular 'Lawro Predicts' column for the BBC, the 55-year-old revealed he expects a tight game in which Liverpool could earn a draw .
Here's what he had to say in full...
"Manchester City begin life without Mario Balotelli, and I think they will be better off without him.
"Balotelli's record of goals per game for them was decent but he still had the tendency to go off and do his own thing.
"The public loved him because he was so entertaining and there was a story about him every day, but he was like the naughty kid in the class - he stops the rest of the class from progressing because the teacher - or Roberto Mancini in City's case - has to spend all his time worrying about what he is up to.
"Sometimes Balotelli looked completely disinterested during games, and this season there were more times when he didn't look bothered than when he did. Compare that to the work-rate of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez up front, and that is why City will not miss him much. Just think how good a player Balotelli could be if he had that same attitude during games.
"It will still be entertaining to see what he gets up to in Milan but he is someone else's problem now, though. Mancini is probably relieved about that, but he still has a lot to think about in terms of his side's title defence.
"City dropped points against QPR at Loftus Road on Tuesday and they will find it tough against Liverpool too.
"The Reds played really well for an hour against Arsenal in midweek, and it was interesting to see that Jamie Carragher came back into their defence for that game, and made a difference.
"I think this will be a tight game, but there have to be worries over City's defence with Vincent Kompany out injured. If Matija Nastasic is not fit, then Javi Garcia will have to drop into defence again and, if they show any sort of weakness then Luis Suarez will take them apart.
"I have to take my hat off to Suarez because he has dropped a little bit deeper since Daniel Sturridge arrived and taken a different role but he has been even better. I just wonder if Mancini will play three defensive-minded midfielders just to try to nullify him.
"United could be 10 points clear by the time this game starts but I think it is an advantage for City to know what United have done, and that might affect Mancini's thinking. It has to."
Lawro's prediction: 2-1
About this former LFC player
Mark Lawrenson joined Liverpool from Brighton & Hove Albion for a then club record £900k in the summer of 1981. The Republic of Ireland international centre-back soon struck up a formidable partnership with Alan Hansen after injury to club stalwart Phil Thompson. After 332 appearances, Lawrenson left the club in 1989 and after a season playing in the American Soccer League went on to manage Oxford United and Peterborough United. During his time at Anfield 'Lawro' won 5 league titles, 3 League Cups, a European Cup and an FA Cup.
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Date:Saturday February 2 2013
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