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Brendan Rodgers expects to face ‘top-class’ Manchester City despite injuries

Manchester City v Leicester City – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers maintains whatever side Manchester City are able to field on Sunday will be one to test his own team’s Premier League credentials.

City boss Pep Guardiola has seen his options depleted, with only 13 fit senior players available.

Ilkay Gundogan is self-isolating after contracting coronavirus, while the likes of Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all recovering from injury.

Guardiola gave some of the club’s academy starlets a chance to impress in Thursday’s 2-1 Carabao Cup victory over Bournemouth.

Teenage forward Liam Delap – son of former Stoke midfielder Rory – marked his debut with a fine strike, while Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle also caught the eye.

With Phil Foden already starring for senior side, Rodgers expects the next crop of City talent to be ready to make a similar impact.

“With the players he does have available and the young players, they will all have enough motivation and quality to want to get a result,” said Rodgers.

“All of the teams are still searching for your level of fitness having only had a few games.

“You are working with the players you have and will always be looking to go out to get a good performance and result.

“They are a top-level side and whatever happens, they are still top-class. We are playing against one of the top teams in Europe. It is a difficult game for us.”

Leicester’s much-changed side were beaten at home in the Carabao Cup by Arsenal on Wednesday night, which ended their perfect start to the new campaign.

Midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is set to be out for up to three months with an abductor injury which needs surgery.

Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans, though, comes back into contention after recovering from a thigh injury and having served a suspension from the end of last season.

Rodgers is expecting a response against City, regardless of the calibre of the opposition.

“We have always said every game is an opportunity. The games you are supposedly (favourites) to win, it is always important to win those and we have done that in the first two Premier League games,” he said.

“This is a different test for us and a different challenge. We have to go and show our own qualities.

“We have a respect for the likes of Manchester City but we cannot play with any fear, that is always what is important.”