Manchester: Carlos Tevez, who last played for Manchester City in September, continues to dominate off-field matters for the Premier League leaders but, ahead of Tuesday's visit to Everton, manager Roberto Mancini was more concerned with the club's problems with referees.
Mancini has been highly critical of a number of high-profile decisions that have affected his side in recent games, the latest coming at Anfield last week where Micah Richards conceded a penalty for handball, presenting Liverpool with a goal that helped them beat City in the League Cup semi-final.
Now the Italian has claimed that English referees are overworked and pointed to the fact that Wednesday's official, Phil Dowd, was controlling his fifth game in 22 days at Anfield.
"I think playing a lot of games is also difficult for them," said Mancini. "The refs sometimes are tired - to play every two or three days is difficult for the players, and for the referee. The referee is like me, like the players. They can be tired sometimes."
Mancini is looking for an immediate response from his players after exiting the FA Cup and League Cup in quick succession and will be desperate to see his team maintain their three-point lead at the top of the table.
The loss, 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-2 draw at Anfield, was particularly hard for Mancini to swallow as he aimed to take City to Wembley and the manager was sticking to his claim that officiating cost his team a chance of silverware.
"We scored two goals and that was enough to go to the final," he said.
"We conceded two goals, one of them a penalty which was not a penalty - the referee made a mistake."
Meanwhile, with European clubs such as PSG, AC and Inter Milan apparently out of contention for Tevez's services because of City's high transfer valuation, said to be £25.2 million ($39.6 million), the latest story to involve the controversial Argentine suggests Liverpool may have an interest in him.
Reports claim that Liverpool made an unofficial inquiry over a possible swap deal which would have sent their under-performing forward Andy Carroll to City in exchange for Tevez - an "offer" in which City have let it be known they have no interest.
Nevertheless, up front remains a problem area for City, with Tevez's personal "strike" now in its 11th week and Mario Balotelli serving the second of a four-match suspension at Goodison Park.
While City's pursuit for the Premier League title is being powered by an expensively-assembled forward line, Everton's lone striker is likely to sum up the Merseysiders' relative financial weakness.
Denis Stracqualursi, an Argentinian forward on loan from Tigres, is likely to continue in attack after scoring his first goal in English football in the 2-1 FA Cup victory over Fulham.
United States midfielder Landon Donovan believes Stracqualursi's breakthrough could take him on to another level.
"For Denis it's completely foreign and he's a really nice kid," Donovan said. "The guys like being around him and he works hard, and you'll find that in this game if you do those things, people are going to pull for you."
City have only managed one victory at Goodison Park since 1992 and Everton have managed back to back home victories against their wealthy opponents.
But manager David Moyes continues to be undermined by a lengthy injury list.
First-choice centre-backs Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are still absent, along with Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman.