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Man City balance books after Balotelli sale but surely need new strikers?

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Another fascinating transfer window is now shut and as the dust settles, the agents fly off into the sun for a couple of weeks hard earned rest, and the managers and players are left to get on with it as though it was just a passing storm. Business as usual then?

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini may at least have a smile on his face ahead of the Premier League clash with Liverpool

Incredibly, the sale of Mario Balotelli means the reigning champions have virtually balanced their books in transfer dealings this season. But has Roberto Mancini got it right in depending on the current squad to retain the title?

Balotelli's departure will leave a more harmonious dressing room. It'll also leave them short of striking cover at a time when goals have been hard to come by. Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez have just seven between them in the last nine league and cup games.

The champs have been grinding out results with eight wins in their last 10 games but those victories have been built on the meanest defence in the land.

No surprise then, that many of the Sunday papers are suggesting City plan a mass clear out in the summer - especially as retaining their title looks a forlorn hope at this stage with Manchester United ten points clear ahead of Sunday's game.

A report in the Mail on Sunday suggests Carlos Tevez looks set to follow Mario Balotelli out of Manchester City in the summer as the Premier League champions plan a summer clear-out.
 
The Argentine striker is understood to be keen to return home to South America and has shown no desire to sign a new deal at the Etihad Stadium.
 
Tevez has just over a year left on his contract and City are keen to recoup some of the money they paid for him and are willing to listen to offers.
  
And according to the Sunday Mirror, Tevez will not be the only one on his way out as Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Joleon Lescott, Scott Sinclair, Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon are all set to be told they can leave.
 
The futures of England duo Gareth Barry and James Milner are also believed to be in doubt.

Barry enters the final year of his contract and Mancini has already started planning for the future with chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain.

As for Sunday's vital clash,City are hopeful Matija Nastasic, who was only fit enough for the bench in midweek, will recover from a knee problem in time to start.

Captain Vincent Kompany may be out for a further three weeks, but Maicon and Micah Richards both hope to return from injury this month.

Liverpool's new signing Philippe Coutinho will not feature but Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique all returned from injury at Arsenal and should keep their places.

The game is vital for both sides, but Joe Ross from betting website www.­footyinsider.­co.­uk is confident:

'Liverpool can't keep a clean sheet at the moment. Pepe Reina is not at 100% but replacement Brad Jones is dire - Liverpool need a new keeper for us and we are happy to punt on City on Sunday to score goals. The sale of Balotelli might actually give the other strikers a boost.'

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