Latest Football News From Manchester: Pep Guardiola has new go-to man vs Liverpool after Gabriel Jesus’ departure

Back in early April, there was a potentially title-deciding game between the two teams at the Etihad Stadium – with Manchester City carrying a slender one-point lead into the clash. A win for the hosts would effectively seal the crown, but Jurgen Klopp's side had plenty of momentum behind them after closing a 13-point gap.

When Guardiola's all-important team line-up was announced, there was a shock that Jesus' name was at right-wing. Before this game, the Brazilian had not started a Premier League game since late January and had not scored a domestic goal since September.

Rumours had already began to circle that his time at City was coming to a natural conclusion, but Guardiola had ultimate faith in one of his first signings to deliver on the big occasion – and he did.

It was apparent from kick-off that Jesus' role was to press and disrupt the rhythm of Liverpool's backline. Just yesterday, in his extended interview, Guardiola described the 25-year-old as the best 'defender/striker' he's ever seen, and those qualities were on full display in this particular fixture.

He even showed his natural predatory instincts and popped up with City's second goal of the game, but his selection was purely down to energy, and the Blues will lose that with his departure to Arsenal. With Liverpool on the horizon, Guardiola will be looking for a new go-to man against the Reds – and his new signing may provide just what he's looking for.

It's always hard to judge players in pre-season, but Guardiola seems to be really encouraged by the performance of Julian Alvarez. After his debut, the Catalan boss said: “Julian (Alvarez) was incredible, defensively he is quite similar like Gabriel (Jesus).

“Gabriel is probably the best, but he is close to him in aggression and how intuitive he is, he makes the runs and with the ball he's absolutely brilliant.”

From minute one, it was apparent the 22-year-old Argentine possessed bundles of energy and did not stop pressing and harassing the Club Amrica backline. It forced mistakes and create opportunities for City, similar to how Guardiola utilised Jesus during his time at the club.

There's always time for the slow and methodical players like Riyad Mahrez to work their magic. Against teams that deploy a low block, their intricacy in tight areas is vital, but against the high-energy of Liverpool, Guardiola likes to match his opposite number.