It came as a surprise when Erling Haaland was ruled out of Manchester City’s Premier League match against Liverpool..
The striker has 42 goals in 37 games this season, so his absence was bound to be felt. Nonetheless, Pep Guardiola’s team demonstrated that they can thrive without the frontman.
The Norwegian striker has only scored once in three games against Jurgen Klopp’s side this season, so he’ll have been eager to get on the pitch and try to change that record.
Even with Guardiola giving Haaland more time to prove his fitness before Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, he was always going to struggle to play.
Due to a groin injury, the 22-year-old withdrew from Norway’s squad during the international break and did not train with City on Thursday. The Norwegian visited a City-affiliated hospital in Marbella during the international break to have the injury assessed.
Because Haaland was not on the team bus, it was unclear whether he would be at the Etihad on Saturday. Injured players are not uncommon to watch games from the comfort of their own homes, but the majority of them prefer to be in and around the action whenever possible.
The cameras took a while to find Haaland in the crowd, but he was eventually found..
The former Borussia Dortmund player was watching the game from a box inside the Etihad Stadium, where he could be seen bouncing around in joy as his team thrashed Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah gave the Merseyside club the lead in the 17th minute, but Julian Alvarez, who came on in place of Haaland, equalized in the 27th. It was all square at halftime, but Guardiola’s men did not take long to assert their dominance in the second period.
City quickly made it 3-1 thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, before Jack Grealish, who assisted the Blues’ opener, scored in the 74th minute to seal a convincing win..
After World Cup winner Alvarez equalized, both Haaland and City fans celebrated wildly. The striker’s wild reaction in the stands was captured on video, and he had plenty more to celebrate after the home team scored three times in the second half to secure a 4-1 victory.
He loves it pic.twitter.com/SCr5MFeGKE
— DAZ TAZER (@daz_tazer) April 1, 2023
In addition to grabbing everyone and anything in his path, the Norwegian ace was also seen performing the iconic Poznan dance. The 22-year-old jumped with his back to the pitch, expressing his delight with the outcome.
The dance, which began in 2010 during City’s Europa League campaign, has been seen frequently in the Etihad Stadium stands, but seeing Haaland take part was the icing on the cake.
Why? At the very least, it demonstrated that Haaland is completely committed to the club. He only joined City last summer, but the prolific frontman has already adopted his fans’ methods.
There has been much speculation about who Haaland supports. He was born in Leeds, so there’s a link there. Nonetheless, Alvarez recently stated that the Norwegian ace has a soft spot for Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
Furthermore, his father, Alf-Inge, played for City, and it has previously been suggested that Haaland supports the Blues solely for that reason.
It doesn’t matter who he supports in the end, but his affection for the Blues is obvious – and that can only be a good thing for everyone associated with City.
The striker will be linked with a move away from the Etihad for as long as he is at the club. There will always be reports that Real Madrid are planning a move for him, and there is always the possibility that his agent will be coy when asked about his future.
His celebrations during City’s win over Liverpool, on the other hand, show that he is all-in. The striker is on the verge of surpassing his father’s appearance total in a blue shirt, and many would argue that he has already accomplished more at the club than Alf-Inge did.
If he goes on to win the Premier League, FA Cup, or Champions League, it won’t even be a topic of discussion.
Even if Haaland does not’support’ City, he clearly cares about the team. He cheers like a fan, and scoring in the famous blue shirt clearly means a lot to him. Although he did not play against Liverpool, his reaction to the victory told the club’s fans exactly what they wanted to hear – and see.
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