The trip to Liverpool will be Manchester City’s biggest task so far in the Premier League season, as a win can see them bounce right back into the thick of things in the title race.
However, Pep Guardiola doesn’t have a fully-fit squad in hand and was dealt a blow when goalkeeper Ederson picked up an injury in their UEFA Champions League bout against Atalanta on Wednesday.
The Spaniard has confirmed that his number one goalkeeper won’t be able to make it for the crunch game and number two Claudio Bravo will be playing instead.
Of course, the Chilean is wrapped in his own controversy after having been sent off after coming on in the second half against Atalanta. This forced Kyle Walker to play as a make-shift goalkeeper and almost lost the game for the Citizens.
However, Guardiola was vehement in defending his goalkeeper’s actions and demanded more respect for him.
He said, “Why should I doubt any player in my team? Why do you ask these questions? You have to respect this guy – he has won trophies and the Copa América.”
“Bravo can do it, of course. We won the Carabao Cup with him, he’s an exceptional keeper, played a lot of games with his national team.”, he added.
The Spanish gaffer also indicated that he would’ve sold Bravo if he had any doubt on his ability and that the Chilean won’t be the root cause for any disappointments at Anfield.
Guardiola explained, “Why would I have doubts because a player does not play regularly? I’d not want to be a player who was doubted by his manager.”
“I’ve seen him in training and I know how fired up he is and how good he is. We are not going to lose because of Claudio.”, he further opined.
The Chilean might’ve been sent off after a sloppy challenge on Josep Ilicic on Wednesday and has the knack for making repeated errors, but Guardiola refuses to blame him for that incident or the earlier ones.
He stated, “The red card was because we lost the ball in a dangerous position. In the first season when he was a little bit struggling in the Premier League it was because he comes here and the team was not at top level. The problem was not Claudio. It is easy to point that he is the problem.”
“It’s a team game and sometimes you make a mistake; sometimes you make a good save and sometimes not. But why should I not have any confidence with one player in my team? He wouldn’t be here otherwise.”, he also added.
City are in danger of falling 9 points behind Liverpool if they lose on Sunday, but Guardiola’s remaining optimistic of his team and his backup goalkeeper getting the job done to further intensify the title race.