Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is in line to return for the crucial top of the table clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool on Thursday night after sitting out the last game with a knock, although it remains to be seen whether the Belgian will be fit enough to start.
De Bruyne has struggled with injuries all season, playing just five league games as a result of ligament trouble. His latest comeback was arrested after just three games when he suffered a knock that ruled him out of the win over Southampton last weekend.
But manager Pep Guardiola appeared optimistic when asked about the situation on Wednesday.
"[De Bruyne] trained today. But tomorrow we need another check in the morning, but he is much better," the boss explained, via ManCity.com.
A report from The Times notes that it is 'not Guardiola’s style to throw players straight back into the team following an injury', but adds that convention may go out of the window given the magnitude of Thursday night's game at the Etihad Stadium.
Liverpool, who remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season and have won all of their last nine games, were able to open up a seven-point lead over City in December as a result of three defeats for the reigning champions at the hands of Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester.
A win for City would close the gap to a more manageable four points. But, equally, a Liverpool victory would extend it to 10 points and all but knock the champions out of the race with less than half a season left to play.