Blow for Man City as Erling Haaland OUT of Liverpool clash

Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23Getty
  • Haaland not in squad to face Liverpool
  • City have front three of Mahrez, Alvarez & Grealish
  • Nunez on bench for Reds

WHAT HAPPENED? City's hopes of beating Liverpool and closing the gap to Premier League leaders Arsenal suffered a significant blow after their top scorer was deemed not fit enough to make the squad. Haaland was given until the final training session on Friday to prove his fitness ahead of the crunch clash, although has ultimately failed to sufficiently recover in time. Pep Guardiola has instead opted to start with a front three of Jack Grealish, Julian Alvarez and Riyad Mahrez for the fixture at the Etihad Stadium.

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Manchester City XI: Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Gundogan, Rodri, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Grealish, Alvarez.

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Walker, Phillips, Laporte, Bernardo, Gomez, Perrone, Palmer, Lewis.

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Elliott, Jota, Gakpo, Salah.

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Milner, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tsimikas, Nunez, Arthur, Matip.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Not having Haaland available represents a blow although City still possess plenty of attacking firepower, spearheaded by World Cup winner Alvarez. The significance of the fixture in the context of the title race can't be played down, with defeat for City giving Arsenal the chance to move 11 points clear ahead of their meeting with Leeds this afternoon.

As for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, Darwin Nunez is only fit enough for a place on the bench, with Diogo Jota, whose last goal for the Reds came against City at the Etihad almost one year ago, starting.