Erling Haaland injury: Pep Guardiola gives 20-word explanation after leaving Man City striker out of squad against Liverpool

Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola has had to leave Erling Haaland out of his Man City squad for their game against Liverpool on Saturday in the Premier League lunchtime kick off.

Haaland has been a doubt for the match in recent weeks after having to withdraw from international duty with Norway due to a groin issue. At his pre-match press conference on Friday, Guardiola said the striker was in the recovery phase, meaning he still had a glimmer of hope of getting back in time, but final assessments were still pending.

And when the team news was announced on Saturday morning, Haaland didn’t even feature on the Man City bench.

In his absence, Julian Alvarez will be playing up front, supported by wingers Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish.

Having scored 42 goals for the club so far this season, it is obviously a blow for City to be without Haaland, even if some pundits question how he affects their overall style.

Explaining why he hasn’t quite made it for the Liverpool match, Guardiola told BT Sport before kick off: “He is not fit. He doesn’t feel proper.

“It is not a big issue but today he was not right.”

Phil Foden is also missing from the matchday squad due to an injury issue of his own.

Guardiola ready to fight to catch up with Arsenal

Regardless, City will be aiming to get a result that would put pressure on league leaders Arsenal, who are currently eight points above them having played a game more.

Guardiola added in his BT Sport interview: “There are a lot of games of football left and a lot of things can happen. We don’t feel as though Arsenal will drop many points but hopefully we can be there as long as possible.

“I would love to be in Arsenal’s position but until the last moment we will fight. We have done it for many, many years. It is step by step, game by game and we will see what happens.

“To be in contention for all the competitions, this is amazing. When you win you have the tendency to drop a bit but we are still there and this makes me happy.

“I feel old.”

After the clash with Liverpool, City will next be in action in a week’s time when they visit Southampton. Only time will tell if Haaland will have regained enough fitness by then.

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