Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Erling Braut Haaland is fit for Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Liverpool.
After starting each of his first 13 matches in all competitions following his summer switch from Borussia Dortmund, the 22-year-old striker was an unused substitute for the goalless Champions League draw against Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Haaland has enjoyed an exceptional spell in front of goal so far this season, netting 20 times across all tournaments, including 15 strikes in nine Premier League games.
Guardiola stated after the stalemate in Denmark that Haaland felt ‘tired’ and he ‘did not recover well’ from the 4-0 win over Southampton last weekend.
“He finished the game against Southampton so, so tired and he didn’t recover well these [last] two or three days,” the Spaniard told reporters. Yesterday was not good, today was a little bit better but not perfect and that’s why we decided not to take the risk.
“Many players didn’t start today because they were really exhausted and tired and fatigued, and [had] niggles. Erling didn’t feel really good after the game against Southampton.”
However, Guardiola has since confirmed that Haaland is “ready” for City’s trip to Anfield on Sunday, along with Bernardo Silva, who was also dropped to the bench in midweek due to fatigue.
“We have a lot of games like all the teams. Players are recovering better. Erling could not play all the games last season. Bernardo was tired, but they feel good and are ready for Sunday.”
Guardiola has also confirmed that Haaland will go on holiday for up to two weeks during the World Cup after Norway failed to qualify for the tournament.
“Yeah I don’t know the plan maybe 10 days two weeks [Haaland will] go away on holiday with families, then two weeks to reignite our rhythm before we come back after the World Cup,” Guardiola added.
“I’m sure he’d prefer to be at the World Cup but unfortunately this time he can’t go.”
While both Haaland and Bernardo are fit to feature against Liverpool, the Citizens will be without three players for Sunday’s clash, with John Stones, Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker all still recovering from injuries.
Stones has missed City’s last four matches after sustaining a hamstring injury while on international duty with England last month, while Phillips and Walker are recovering from respective shoulder and groin surgeries.
“All of them will be out,” Guardiola said. “John I think will be back (soon) I don’t know when but maybe one week, ten days. Kalvin is getting better and is improving a lot. Kyle is still out.”
When asked if the Three Lions trio will recover in time for the World Cup next month, the Spaniard said: “I don’t know.”
Man City currently sit second in the Premier League table, just one point behind leaders Arsenal, who beat Liverpool 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.
The Citizens are still the only remaining English top-flight team who are yet to lose this season, after winning seven and drawing two of their first nine league matches.
However, City have lost their last two meetings with Jurgen Klopp‘s side, suffering a 3-2 FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley Stadium in April, before losing 3-1 in the Community Shield in July.