The matchday squad for Manchester City’s game against Leicester at the King Power Stadium did not include Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian forward, who has scored 17 goals in 11 league games this season, has been sidelined after picking up an injury during City’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
Haaland, 22, had not recovered in time as Pep Guardiola acknowledged in his pre-game news conference that he was questionable for Saturday’s noon kickoff due to the minor injury and his ongoing battle with a fever.
Guardiola responded to a question about whether he was absent due to the reason he was against Dortmund by saying, “Yeah, he recovered from the fever, from being exhausted, but not from the ligament.”
Brendan Rodgers, the manager of Leicester City, was ecstatic about the news and admitted: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sliding on my knees when I heard he wasn’t playing!”
Guardiola gave a fresh update on Friday afternoon, saying they would evaluate the prolific forward after practice.
There were concerns as to whether Haaland would play on Saturday. He stated: “Though he is feeling better, we will workout this afternoon and evaluate in a short while.
We’ll wait until he feels something in his foot before making a decision. In two hours, I’ll find out if he can play or not.”
Haaland, however, was left off the roster for the match as Guardiola opted to start Julian Alvarez up front alongside Jack Grealish, who was reinstated to the starting lineup, and Bernardo Silva, who joined them in a front-three.
City used a “false nine” for the majority of last season’s games before Haaland joined the team. Joleon Lescott, a former City defender, predicted that the defending champions would switch back to this formation with Julian Alvarez taking over as the line leader.
Lescott said on BT Sport, “I think they’ll go back to their previous style. The variety of crosses will change.”
Guardiola also remarked, “Every player is different; he needs to be himself and that’s it,” in reference to Alvarez, the replacement.
The midfield trio for Guardiola’s team was made up of Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri, and Ilkay Gundogan.
Haaland has led all players in Premier League goals scored this season with 17, followed by Aleksandar Mitrovic (10) and Harry Kane (9) in terms of goals scored.
Haaland has also scored four goals for City in the Champions League this season, including one against his old team, Dortmund, back in September.
However, Haaland now missed his first game after making the expensive acquisition in the summer.