Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has emerged a surprise candidate to take over Roberto Mancini's post at the Etihad. The Mirror believes the northern Irishman is being lined up by Manchester City and will be offered the post even if Mancini, who led the Citizens to a first league championship in 44 years last season, wins the FA Cup in May.

Roberto Mancini (L) and Brendan Rodgers

City have endured a poor season, relative to the highs of the last campaign, and watched helplessly as arch-rivals Manchester United beat them to the Premier League crown with four games in hand.

In addition, Mancini could not stop a second successive group stage exit from the Champions League, although he can point to the presence of Spanish, German and Dutch league winners - Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax - in his group as a mitigating factor. Last season's English champions have only the FA Cup left to win this year and they play Wigan Athletic in the final on 11 May.

All of this means the Italian's position is under severe scrutiny, with chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain both reportedly unimpressed with his work so far. Soriano and Begiristain were hired from Catalan giants Barcelona and have been tasked with re-creating the Nou Camp club's success at the Etihad.

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez and Ajax's Frank de Boer have also been linked to Mancini's position but the favourite is believed to be Rodgers. The former Swansea City boss was linked to City even before he took charge at the Liberty Stadium, when he was approached to join Mancini's technical team.

Joleon Lescott on World Cup Chances

Meanwhile, out-of-favour centre-back Joleon Lescott believes he may have to leave City in the summer, to keep his dreams of playing for England alive. The 30-year-old was a key member of the club's title-winning team last year but his position has since been usurped by summer signing Matija Nastasic.

Lescott has started only 13 Premier League games so far this season and knows he must be a regular starter to have any chance of making it to the England squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

"It would be tough to have another season like this. I only got in the last squad by default. You can't expect to play for England if you're not playing for your club," the defender explained, adding, "But as long as I'm here, I'm happy to do a job for the team and the club. I'd love to stay here but if it's not to be, then so be it."

Lescott has been linked with a return to former club Everton.