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Hart to keep place for Liverpool clash

Joe Hart is set to face Liverpool on Boxing Day after manager Manuel Pellegrini said the recalled goalkeeper will keep his place for Manchester City.

The England international was brought back for Saturday’s 4-2 win over Fulham, which was his first Premier League appearance since October.

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And Hart, who had been dropped after making errors in defeats to Cardiff, Aston Villa, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, was not to blame for either Fulham goal at Craven Cottage.

Pellegrini praised him for his performance and said in his news conference after the victory: “At the moment Joe is going to play against Liverpool. He did well and he deserves to play the next match.”

Costel Pantilimon had played the previous seven league games but Pellegrini said the Romanian “understood” his decision to omit him and bring back Hart.

He added: “When I put Pantilimon in the starting 11 I spoke with Joe and he understood he was not in a good moment.

“It was a tough decision to bring him back because we were winning and Pantilimon was doing well. But I have a good squad and I must choose between good players every week. When I told Pantilimon, he understood."

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