He cites their half-time formation change against Arsenal back in 2016 - the switch that ultimately led to the Premier League title - as an example of their tactical flexibility.
But whatever the line-ups, there are plenty of talking points and the game will be closely watched for clues as domestic football reclaims centre stage just three weeks after the World Cup final in Russian Federation. City will be eager to kick off the season from where they left the previous one, with an easy win over the rivals.
He added: "We need to defend, I think". "I want players who want to come to Manchester City".
The playmaker, who starred at the 2018 World Cup as Belgium finished third, has had an extended break following his exploits in Russian Federation.
But the duo are sure to be key going forward as City attempt to become the first team since Manchester United in 2008-09 to retain the Premier League crown.
Sarri said: "Loftus-Cheek I have seen him just for three, four trainings". Giving the Spaniard company in attack will be compatriot Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has arguably been the most impressive player for Chelsea in pre-season.
Napoli's swashbuckling attempts to unseat Juventus domestically persuaded Chelsea to make Sarri their sixth Italian boss when Antonio Conte's inevitable departure arrived at the start of pre-season.
"I don't have an answer, I'll try to do what I did in Barca and Bayern, to be harder with my players".
For Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas is a doubt with a minor knee injury. Chelsea's season of discontent has had consequences with Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Alvaro Morata and Willian either eyeing the exit or attracting attention from other clubs.
They certainly have a strong case, and this match-up takes on even more of a preseason exhibition feel in a World Cup summer.
Pep Guardiola is in a much better position than Sarri as far as the availability of first-team footballers is concerned. "The most important thing is that they play better, not their relationship with the manager".
Hazard's future has been a subject of speculation over the close-season, with his superb showing during Belgium's run to the semi-finals of the World Cup again prompting links to Real Madrid.