Liverpool v Manchester City: Manuel Pellegrini urges his team to approach Anfield encounter with a 'cold mind' on emotional day

Eagerly-awaited clash takes place close to the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes a “cold mind” will be required to prevail in this weekend's showdown with title rivals Liverpool.

The eagerly-anticipated clash at Anfield on Sunday could shape the destiny of the Premier League crown with both sides pushing hard for glory.

The match will also be an emotional affair, coming close to the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and a number of commemorations are planned.

Pellegrini is respectful of the occasion but, once kick-off arrives, wants his players fully focused on what is a crucial game in their run-in.

The Chilean said: "It will be a very emotional day but the team that has the cold mind will win the game.

"It is easy in these big games to have the motivation but it is very important to manage the anxiety. That is very important for all the players."

All matches this weekend will kick off seven minutes later than usual with a minute's silence held in what would have been the sixth minute of the game.

The significance of this is that the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough in 1989, at which 96 supporters died, was abandoned at 3.06pm.

Pellegrini said: "It is very important to remember what happened in that tragedy.

"It is important to have a good ceremony and try to look to the future and (make sure it) does not happen again, because those things cannot happen in the future."

City are boosted by a possible return of Sergio Aguero after five games out with a hamstring injury.

The Argentina striker, City's top scorer this season with 26, has been training for the past week and is back in contention.

Pellegrini said: "Sergio is okay. He has worked the whole week with the squad as normal. He doesn't have any problems."

Pellegrini is refusing to view the match as a title decider.

Liverpool top the table ahead of the weekend fixtures with Chelsea second and third-placed City four points behind the leaders, but with seven games remaining compared to the Reds' five.

Pellegrini said: "It is not a game that will decide the title.

"It is a very important game but we can beat Liverpool and after, if we lose against Sunderland and West Brom, we are not going to win the title.

"It is important because we are playing the team that are top of the table but if we think this game is more important than next Wednesday we are not going to win the title.

"Of course the teams that wins this game has more chances to win the title, because the team that wins has three points more, but if you think that with this you finish the Premier League it is a mistake.

"There are a lot of other chances to continue fighting because I think this year, the title will be decided by just one point at the end of the season."

City's games in hand might place extra onus on Liverpool to win but Pellegrini has no intention of playing for a draw.

He said: "The pressure is exactly the same for both teams, and for Chelsea also.

"We are not going to play at Anfield trying to draw, that is the most important thing. If we cannot win, (only then) is it better to draw than to lose the game."

Pellegrini might have been in charge of the opposition on Sunday had events unfolded differently four years ago.

The 60-year-old did speak to Liverpool after Rafael Benitez left Anfield in 2010.

He has previously said he was "very near" to making the move while Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper at the time, Jose Reina, wrote in his autobiography that he urged the club to appoint him.

Instead Pellegrini went to Malaga while Liverpool appointed Roy Hodgson.

Pellegrini said: "It is the past, not in the future. (I have) no regrets at the moment because I now have the chance to manage Manchester City. No regrets about that."


Suggested Topics
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'