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Saturday March 02, 2024

Haaland in contention for City clash with Liverpool

By AFP
April 01, 2023

MANCHESTER: Erling Haaland could feature for Manchester City in Saturday’s crucial Premier League clash against Liverpool as he battles to recover from a groin injury.

The prolific striker, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season, missed Norway’s two Euro 2024 qualifiers during the recent international break. Haaland has scored six hat-tricks in 19 appearances at City’s Etihad Stadium this season, including eight goals in his last two games against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a FA Cup quarter-final win over Burnley.

“Erling is recovering. We’ll see this afternoon. The last training is at 4pm (1500GMT) and we will see how he feels,” City boss Pep Guardiola told reporters on Friday. “Yesterday I spoke with him and he feels good. But we will see.”

Guardiola has a difficult balancing act ahead of a season-defining period for City. They trail Premier League leaders Arsenal by eight points, but have a game in hand and are still to host the Gunners in April.

Before then, City face Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, the one major trophy missing from Guardiola’s time in charge of the club. “Life is risk in these stages. You have to take it,” added Guardiola on whether he would roll the dice on playing Haaland.

“We’ve scored a lot of goals this season. He scored an incredible amount of goals. But in the past, we always scored a lot of goals.” City will definitely be without England midfielder Phil Foden, who underwent surgery to remove his appendix last week. “The doctors tell me two or three weeks (out). We will see how he develops,” Guardiola said.

City and Liverpool have finished as the Premier League’s top two in three of the past four seasons. But after a series of title fights, Liverpool head to the Etihad 19 points adrift of Guardiola’s men, down in sixth place.