Pep hails ‘special’ Alvarez in Haaland’s absence as Klopp laments ‘passive’ Liverpool

Man City boss Pep Guardiola hailed the impact of striker Julian Alvarez in the absence of Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland.

Haaland missed the 4-1 win over Liverpool with a groin injury but was in attendance as his side thumped their former title rivals thanks to goals from Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish.

Guardiola said after the game that the ability of Alvarez meant he had to change little about his side for the game despite Haaland not being available.

“With Erling, we have something special, and Julian is something special too,” Guardiola explained.

“He was invoved in the first three goals and except one or two actions in the beginning with Ruben (Dias) where didn’t he set the ball not properly, with the ball he was so clever because he’s so intelligent.

“He’s playing with the national team as a World Cup champion and if you are not good, you cannot play in a world champion team.

“I’m very pleased. Thank you so much to the club, to Txiki (director of football), to the scouting to discover him, for this prize.”

The victory ensures City keep up their chase of Arsenal in the title race but for Liverpool, it is a blow to their top-four hopes having now lost back-to-back league games following the 7-0 demolition of rivals Man Utd.

“I’m not sure we could have won today against ten men,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said when asked about whether Rodri could have been sent off.

“We were too passive, too deep, too far away from everything.

“I think we had around four performances which were okay. The two midfielders in Hendo (Jordan Henderson) and Fab (Fabinho) worked a lot and tried to close gaps, Cody (Gakpo) especially in possession and Ali (Alisson) of course.”

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