Rio Ferdinand names Prem striker who is ‘harder to play against than Haaland’, as Crouch joins in with praise

Erling Haaland of Man City

Peter Crouch and Rio Ferdinand have sung the praises of Manchester City attacker Julian Alvarez, with Ferdinand even suggesting the World Cup winner is harder to play against than Erling Haaland.

City boss Pep Guardiola was without Haaland for the huge Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday. The Norwegian, who has bagged an astonishing 42 goals already this season, is recovering from a groin problem.

Haaland being out was a big blow for City, but Guardiola was still able to select a high-quality centre-forward as Alvarez came into the starting eleven.

And Alvarez played a crucial role as City brushed Liverpool aside with a 4-1 victory at home.

City went behind in the 17th minute when Mo Salah smashed into the net on his left foot after some good work by Diogo Jota.

However, Liverpool’s lead only lasted 10 minutes as Alvarez soon dragged City level. The Argentina international finished from close range after being set up by Jack Grealish.

READ MORE: Enraged Jurgen Klopp berates Liverpool over ‘absolutely not acceptable’ double error; thanks Man City for limiting score to 4-1

City went in front soon after the restart when Alvarez picked out Riyad Mahrez with a great pass and the winger then found Kevin de Bruyne in the box. The classy midfielder made no mistake with his first-time finish.

In the 53rd minute, Alvarez had a shot blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold but Ilkay Gundogan was on hand to make it 3-1.

Julian Alvarez, Jack Grealish shine in Man City win

And City rounded off the win in the 74th minute when Jack Grealish got a deserved goal. He played a one-two with De Bruyne before sliding the ball into the bottom corner, with Alisson unable to stop it.

Grealish was given the man of the match award for his brilliant display, but Alvarez was also influential to the City victory.

Crouch analysed Alvarez’s performance during an appearance on BT Sport. The former striker said (01/04 at 14:46): “He really was [involved in everything]. I think he gets into every other Premier League team in the country. Just because he’s behind Haaland he’s not had the games he would have liked.

“But he’s a constant menace, he’s constantly on the move, he’s unselfish, he draws players towards him, he works hard. He’s got everything, he’s a team player and he chips in with goals as well.”

Fellow pundit Ferdinand then explained why Alvarez may actually be harder to defend against than goal machine Haaland.

“That’s the perfect way to sum him up, he’s a team player,” Ferdinand said. “Look at Mahrez [in the build up to Gundogan’s goal] he was magnificent today. He’s drawn five players towards him there to give someone else like Alvarez the space.

“He [Alvarez] might be giving you a harder day’s work, without the amount of goals maybe, than Haaland when you play against him. Because of the amount of work that he does. He’s so tenacious.

“I watched him in the World Cup, he is flying around doing two or three mans running. He’s infectious for other people, around the stadium as well, not just on the pitch. I think he’s a real asset.

“You have to tip your hat to the recruitment of the club. To find him for £12million is ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano has issued a ‘crucial’ update on City and Liverpool target Jude Bellingham.