Raheem Sterling could be in line to replace Sergio Aguero as Manchester City’s central striker against Liverpool on Sunday, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes.
City have their injury worries at the back and the ongoing absence of Aymeric Laporte could see Pep Guardiola revert to a three-man defensive unit at Anfield for the top-of-the-table clash, allowing for the visitors to play with wing-backs.
And Neville believes that obvious width down the wings could see former Liverpool man Sterling playing more centrally, with Aguero the man to miss out.
Explaining his thinking, Neville told Sky Sports: “I have said since City lost [Aymeric] Laporte [to injury] that I thought they may go to three at the back.
“I’m not sure Aguero will play today, I’m not sure that Sterling will play in that traditional position [on the left wing].
“I know that he’s not gone to three at the back yet but I just really doubt the idea of Fernandinho and [John] Stones at centre-back today to be honest with you for City.
“I look at the way Pep’s sometimes in big games come up with a shock, sometimes he’s done something different.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see Sterling through the middle.”
Should Sterling play in his usual left of the attack role, he will come up against England teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold – on Sunday linked with a big-money move away next summer – and Neville reckons the Liverpool full-back will be in for an unusually difficult afternoon.
“If you look at this sort of movement, this would cause any full-back problems, it would cause Trent problems,” Neville said on Sterling.
“This type of run inside, I don’t think he’s always tight enough to his centre-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“I think sometimes he does lose his position inside.”