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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Sven in no rush to splash cash when window reopens

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson is playing a waiting game ahead of the opening of the January transfer window.

The former England boss is understood to be looking to strengthen his attacking options.

Eriksson, who has been linked with a move for Heerenveen's Afonso Alves, insists he is keeping an open mind on the situation.

He said: 'We have some good strikers and it would be wrong of me now to say what we need in January. We have money available if we want to do something.'

Georgios Samaras has been preferred the last two games with Rolando Bianchi, Darius Vassell and Emile Mpenza represent the manager's other options.

Eriksson has been pleased with Vassell's attitude after the former Aston Villa striker pledged his future to the club.

'Darius scored five goals in training today. It is good they want to stay here and fight, ' said the Swedish coach ahead of the Premier League match against Sunderland on Monday.

'He is now injury-free and still has the qualities he showed for England - that pace and technique. Darius can score goals and play in different positions. He is a very useful player for us.'

Eriksson stressed that Bianchi was relaxed about his situation.

'I have not fallen out with him and he has not fallen out with me,' said the City boss. 'He is very polite young man. He will have his chance soon.'

Micah Richards will almost certainly sit out the match against Sunderland because of a bruised knee.

However the England defender is likely to return the following Sunday at Portsmouth as the injury is not serious.

That would put him on course to feature in the vital Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia.

Richards suffered the injury in the Carling Cup victory against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium in midweek.

Eriksson said: 'Richards will probably not play on Monday but hopefully the match afterwards. It is not a ligament problem and that is very good news of course.

'It is a relief for him, for us and for England.'

Winger Martin Petrov is available again after a toe injury while Eriksson remains undecided whether to name Andreas Isaksson or Joe Hart between the posts.