Erling Haaland in fitness race for Manchester City vs Liverpool, Phil Foden facing three weeks out

Erling Haaland is in a race to be fit for Manchester City’s showdown with Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime.

Haaland withdrew from Norway duty after suffering groin pain following the FA Cup quarter-final win over Burnley before the international break.

City manager Pep Guardiola said the Norway international, who has scored 28 goals in 26 Premier League appearances for City so far this season, would be assessed following Friday afternoon’s training session.

“Erling is recovering; last training session and we will see how he feels,” Guardiola said.

Pushed on how far away Haaland was to a return, the Spaniard added: “We will see this afternoon.”

Asked if concerns over Haaland’s fitness had changed his plans preparing for this game, Guardiola said: “No. The football is the quality of the players. When you play with the typical players that you need, the tactics and skills are for every player.

“Haaland has his skills and Julian (Alvarez) has his own skills. He can give us one thing, a false nine has other skills. We saw most of the players coming back from the international break yesterday and we couldn’t do much. We will see today the last assessment and we will decide.”

City will already be without Phil Foden, who misses out after undergoing surgery to remove his appendix.

Foden pulled out of the England squad last weekend for Sunday’s game against Ukraine and City did not initially put a timeframe on his return.

Asked about Foden’s prognosis, Guardiola said: “Phil had the surgery. The doctors tell me 2-3 weeks I think. We will see how he develops.”

Manchester City can temporarily move to within five points of current leaders Arsenal — who have played a game more — with victory. Arsenal host Leeds United in a 3pm kick-off on Saturday.

Liverpool are looking to bounce back from defeat at Bournemouth before the international break and maintain the pressure on Newcastle and Tottenham above them in the race for Champions League football.

Jurgen Klopp’s side won the reverse fixture 1-0 at Anfield in October.

Follow Manchester City vs Liverpool with The Athletic’s dedicated live blog. Kick off is 12.30pm (7.30am EDT, 4.30am PDT).

(Photo: Getty Images)

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