Haaland is now considered a doubt for the visit of Jurgen Klopp&aposs side to the Etihad in what is a Premier League top-two clash, having picked up an ankle injury during Norway&aposs 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands on Thursday. The Norwegian will miss this evening&aposs meeting with Scotland.
On Saturday, Haaland vowed on social media to be back fit and firing as soon as possible and City supporters will have everything crossed that he is available next weekend. But the season is long and Pep Guardiola might have little choice but to play it safe ahead of a hectic winter schedule.
Replacing Haaland at No.9 is a relatively straightforward choice for Guardiola. Julian Alvarez has been outstanding in support of the Norwegian but remains the most natural back-up and has the quality to do so.
That, however, will open up the space between the lines and many fans would like to see Phil Foden slot in there. The Stockport-born star has looked electric in that role already this season and is in hot form, scoring in three of City&aposs last four games.
But while Foden has been moved centrally already this campaign, to do so against Liverpool is a different matter entirely. The 23-year-old would no doubt cause problems going forward but the defensive nous in those areas is lacking.
With the ball, he doesn&apost have to improve anything,” Guardiola said of Foden in September. “Without the ball he needs to know exactly when you have a midblock or deeper, you have responsibilities completely different to playing wide.
Phil runs a lot. He&aposs not lazy at all. But to read the situations, the winger is there if the ball is on the opposite side you go inside, when youre inside it comes from right, left, front, back.
You have to take more positions. If he&aposs able to do it with the ball, without the ball its easier. Its just a question of time.
Few teams will be able to hurt City on the counter-attack more than Liverpool and much of their play in those moments will spring from central areas. Trent Alexander-Arnold spoke recently of being inspired by John Stones&apos move into midfield and is doing a decent impression of the Blues star himself.