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Liverpool and Manchester City on Wednesday night meet at Anfield in their Carling Cup semi-final second leg when the Premier League rivals battle for a place at Wembley.

Kenny Dalglish’s side hold a one-goal aggregate advantage in their bid to end a six-year trophy drought after Steven Gerrard’s penalty settled the first leg at the Etihad Stadium.

But Roberto Mancini’s City remain confident of a return to Wembley, having won last season’s FA Cup before losing in the Community Shield at the beginning of this campaign.

The Premier League leaders are expected to be in a determined mood at Anfield and, after dominating the first leg without scoring, it is expected to be a tense night in the battle to meet Cardiff in the final.

Liverpool and City drew 1-1 at Anfield earlier in the season in the Premier League in what was a gripping encounter, but Dalglish’s team were heavily beaten at the Etihad in January.

For the Merseysiders, though, the Carling Cup represents the chance of a first trip to Wembley since 1996.

Dalglish is certain to make changes to his team having criticised his players after Saturday’s defeat at Bolton.

Defensive midfielder Jay Spearing could return to the squad having missed the last two matches with a hamstring problem.

Winger Stewart Downing could get a recall having been dropped to the bench at the weekend while Dalglish will have to assess Craig Bellamy’s ability to play twice in four days.

Manchester City will be without striker Mario Balotelli having accepted a four-match ban for violent conduct.

Captain and defender Vincent Kompany is already missing as he completes a four-match suspension for his sending-off in the FA Cup loss to Manchester United.

Midfielder Yaya Toure and defender Kolo Toure are on international duty, but manager Mancini has no fresh injury concerns.

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