- Haaland withdrew from Norway squad
- City face Liverpool in Saturday's early kick-off
- Guardiola says last training session crucial
WHAT HAPPENED? The 22-year-old had been on fine form for City before the international break, with a staggering nine goals in his last three goals across all competitions. But Haaland had to be withdrawn from the latest Norway squad due to a groin problem and therefore missed their European qualifiers against Spain and Georgia. Despite a period of rest which required a trip to the hospital for said injury, Guardiola admitted that the forward faced a crucial final training session on Friday.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “Erling [Haaland] is recovering," the City boss told reporters, "this afternoon we have the last training session and we are going to see how he feels. We’ll see today. At the end, the doctors and the player will decide how he feels, I spoke with him, he feels good. We will see. Life is risk in these stages, we have to take it.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: With a whopping 42 goals already to his name this season, the Norwegian's absence would be a hammer blow for Guardiola as they prepare for a potential season-defining matchup in Saturday's early kick-off. Currently eight points off leaders Arsenal having played a game less, anything but three points would see the title edge closer towards north London, meaning Haaland's inclusion could be crucial.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Liverpool, meanwhile, will still be eyeing a top-four position as they sit seven points below Tottenham but with two games in hand. Anything but a victory for Jurgen Klopp's side could put that finish in jeopardy, though, with the potential ramifications of not playing Champions League football severe.
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WHAT NEXT FOR HAALAND? The Norwegian is therefore still a doubt for a match which defined countless title chases between the two sides in recent years. Should Haaland not feature against Liverpool, he will at least be hoping to be reintroduced to the fray by the time City travel to Southampton a week later.