Pep Guardiola has been forced to work with a few available players as Man City injury list has increased in recent months. The Cityzens only have Kevin De Bruyne for just 26 minutes this season, while Erling Haaland, John Stone, and recently Jeremy Doku have all been unavailable for selection at a point this season.
The trio of De Bruyne, Haaland, and Doku were earlier included in the squad list for the Club World Cup tournament held in Saudi Arabia but were later removed from the list over fitness concerns. Therefore, they remain out of the selection for Pep Guardiola.
In addition to the injury concerns, Rodri was substituted during the comfortable 4-0 win over Fluminense in the Club World Cup final. The midfielder has become a very important player in Guardiola’s team and his absence will be felt.
“I was very lucky today, to be honest. I think it was one of the worst tackles they did in my career. I was so scared because I felt my knee, but fortunately, it was nothing. And I said to the player, ‘You cannot do this kind of action’.
“But today I won more than a trophy; I go home safe. But to be honest, I was very close to crying because I felt very, very worried about what happened. But, it’s nothing,” the midfielder said during an interview with Sky Sport, dousing the tension surrounding the Man City injury list and assuring the fans that he will be fit to make a trip to Merseyside on December 27.
Meanwhile, the trip to Merseyside might come too soon for Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne as the duo as well as Doku were not expected to play any part in the match. According to Guardiola, Haaland’s return date will be determined by his fitness.
“Sometimes players recover quickly, sometimes longer. Day by day, week by week, how he feels. [In] the moment he doesn’t have pain he will play,” the manager said, hoping for the Norwegian to back to his fitness on time.
Similarly, Guardiola claimed that the availability of Jeremy Doku depends on his injury progress even though his situation is not as bad as that of Kevin De Bruyne.
“It’s muscular, it’s not a big, big issue like Kevin was, for example, but we have to think about it as well because of his explosiveness. We have to be careful. I don’t know when he will be ready – maybe one week or two weeks – and then he will be ready again,” he said.
Meanwhile, De Bruyne is expected to be back on the pitch in January as he continues his rehabilitation from a four-month lay-off. Guardiola said he would be happy to welcome back the Belgian if he returned next month as predicted.
“If he [De Bruyne] said January, it’s January. I’d love to have him for more of the season. But if he says, it’s a happy new year for everyone,” he said amidst a claim that the Man City injury list contributed to their recent poor performance in the English Premier League.