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Man City aim to remain top vs. Palace

Five Aside
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Zabaleta thrilled to have Aguero back

Pablo Zabaleta believes Sergio Aguero’s return to the Manchester City side is perfectly timed as the title challengers “need” their star striker back for the closing stages of the season.

Sergio Aguero's improving fitness is a boost for Manchester City.
Sergio Aguero has missed Manchester City’s last five games.

Curtis: In the history books

Aguero has missed City’s last five games with a hamstring injury but has returned to training and is set to make his comeback against Liverpool on Sunday.

And Zabaleta said of his teammate, who scored the goal that won City the Premier League in 2012: “At the end of the day it is great for any team to have the best players back again. That is the good news.

“He is an important player, he is going to score goals. He is fast, he is quick. Sometimes we need players like Sergio.”

City have scored 13 goals in their last four league games, with Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure joining Aguero and Alvaro Negredo in the four-man group who have struck at least 20 times this season.

But Zabaleta believes City have still missed the Argentina international, adding: “Yes. Always you want the best players in the team and to be fit for any game.

“But we know we also have important players like Dzeko, Yaya is having a great season, [David] Silva, [Samir] Nasri -- we have a lot of talent up front. That is why, even without Sergio, we keep scoring goals.”

Zabaleta suggested Aguero could have played in the defeat of Southampton last week, only for manager Manuel Pellegrini to opt not to risk him.

“He is fit. He was training with the team but he was not 100 percent so that is why the manager decided to drop him and let him be ready for the next game,” he said.

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