When Manchester City takes on Everton in the Premier League on Wednesday night, the world champions will have Erling Haaland pounding on the door to make his injury comeback.
Due to a persistent foot ailment, Haaland, 23, has missed the last three domestic games. Last week, City triumphed at the Club World Club, adding another trophy to their collection, and the Norwegian was forced to watch from the dugout. In Saudi Arabia, Haaland was free to train by himself.
The biggest doubt around City going into their match against Everton is still his fitness, as Pep Guardiola said of Haaland prior to the Club World Cup that he was a 50/50 chance to play in the Gulf state. But at that point, there was going to be no turning back for the Norway goal machine.
At the Club World Cup, City officially became the best team in the world by scoring seven goals in two games, proving that they did not miss Haaland in the strictest sense. Nevertheless, he continues to be one of their best players and is essential to their chances in other leagues like the Premier League this year.
It might make more sense for Guardiola to rest Haaland for the Everton match and deploy him off the bench in the second half, especially if City needs to chase a result at that point, in order to reduce the likelihood of an early setback.
Julian Alvarez, who netted two goals and had an assist in the Club World Cup final victory over Fluminense, will undoubtedly lead the Catalans’ attack, with Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and Jack Grealish providing support.
IN: Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol.
Rico Lewis and Nathan Ake are out.
Ederson; Walker (captain), Stones, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodri, Kovacic; Bernardo, Foden, Grealish; Alvarez is Manchester City’s expected starting lineup against Everton (4-2-3-1).