MANCHESTER — Manchester City star Erling Haaland was kept out of City’s huge game against Liverpool (Watch full match replay online via Peacock Premium).
Haaland left the Norway squad during the international break after suffering a groin injury.
Speaking ahead of the Liverpool game game, City boss Pep Guardiola acknowledged that he would be touch-and-go and ultimately City did not risk the Premier League’s top goal scorer.
ProSoccerTalk’s Joe Prince-Wright was on-site at the Etihad Stadium and it was announced that Haaland was not in the Manchester City matchday squad as he did not get off the team bus, but he did attend the match in the stands.
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Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment. That meant he went to Marbella and then Barcelona in Spain for specialist treatment and he is now back in Manchester recovering from the groin injury he picked up against Burnley.
The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.
He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.
However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.
What is the latest update?
Pep Guardiola gave a fairly positive update on Haaland ahead of Liverpool’s visit to City he will not be risked if there’s any doubt around his fitness.
And it’s not like Guardiola wasn’t tempted to use the Norwegian against Liverpool at the Etihad.
Here’s what Pep said after the 4-1 win, which left Haaland in the stands.
“We spoke yesterday and he didn’t feel fit. Of course we want to take a risk, this is an important game but we have Julian [Alvarez] and now we have a long week to recover. Hopefully next weekend he can be involved.”
Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, previously gave an update on Haaland’s injury.
“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”
Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.
Which games could he miss?
Haaland could return for the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, but Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.
Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage.
Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.